Sep 242010
 

The Leica D-Lux 5 Arrives – Review TUESDAY September 28th!

Hey guys! Just got my paws on a Leica D-Lux 5! Leica sent me one to review and it arrived yesterday. I will be doing my full review on this camera by next week and have been shooting it non stop since yesterday. First impressions? Looks just like the D-Lux 4, but has some improvements in the body (scroll wheel being one of them) and the IQ has been phenomenal so far. Seems like it has been refined. For a small sensor, I am very happy with what I have been seeing. VERY HAPPY.  Many of you know my favorite compact small sensor camera ever has always been the D-Lux 4/Panasonic LX3. Will the D-Lux 5 take the crown? Find out in my upcoming review…until then, a couple of first sample snaps :) Of course you can get this camera $200 cheaper and right now if you want the LX5 from Panasonic :)

The D-Lux 5 with all of its specs, details, and more will be in my full review next week. I will also have a video overview and plenty of images (even full size out of camera downloads). This will be a hot camera for Leica, no doubt. I WILL buy one.

I also have the EVF for the camera and its a nice addition though its not as nice as the Olympus EVF for the E-P2. I will also talk about and show the EVF in the upcoming video. Stay tuned….

Sep 222010
 

Ok, lets get back to business…

Why the M8 might be the right rangefinder (for you)!

By Robert Chisholm

I am excited to be writing an article for Steve’s site! I have enjoyed watching the site develop and appreciate the genuineness of the site, with photographer-oriented articles, rather than pieces for pixel-peepers. Look, I’m a daily shooter, someone who takes photos because of the product AND the process. To me, photography represents a release, a break from my daily stress and worry and a means to connect with the world creatively. I intended (and started) to write an article for Steve about shooting the M9 with less expensive, “alternative” lenses (Voigtlander, Konica, Jupiter, etc), but that article keeps evolving with my lens collection, and is still much a work in progress. After joining flickr recently I began going through old photos on drives to add to my page. I am rediscovering many amazing photos I forgot I even took and many of them were taken with the M8. This has provided me with a wealth of material upon which to reflect. I now better appreciate what a fantastic camera the M8 was (and is)!

The M8 was my first love affair with the rangefinder. I came into photography at the early part of the digital SLR revolution, missing film altogether. I can not remember having a camera as a child – my parents were not “artistic” in that way – but I do remember appreciating visual art early in life. Unfortunately it was apparent from an early age that I can not draw or paint and being a creative person I needed an outlet to express myself visually. Through that desire came my love of photography. Now, while I never experienced film photography, my wife was a graphic designer by trade, and had worked with both film and digital (early photoshop) processing. From her photoshop instructions, and from reading all I could online about digital image processing, my photography and digital processing evolved hand in hand. In retrospect, I guess film was never for me. I only mention this because when I also stumbled onto rangefinders, the digital rangefinder was my only real option. And we all know that, right from the get go, the only player in digital rangefinders was and is Leica (with a somewhat more limited attempt from Epson).

Today I shoot and enjoy my M9. However, as the cost of the M9 is (much) more than most can afford, and as comparable image quality is available at a fraction of the price in dSLRs from Canon/Nikon/Sony, justifying an M9 might be difficult if not impossible. This fact brings up, right from the start, a very basic argument herein that needs to be discussed. It is the 800 pound gorilla in the room, the argument that stops many people from going Leica at all: The rangefinder is a manual focus camera and doesn’t do sports/macros/long lenses well, if at all. Single Lens Reflex cameras can do every focal length that rangefinders do, plus have snappy autofocus and can shoot anything. Who needs a rangefinder?

Yes, this is THE basic question. If the answer is not obvious to you, then go no further. The whole rangefinder “thing” is not going to work – and that’s OK. For everyone else, you know the answer: Some people “see” the world and photograph differently with a rangefinder.

Bear with me for a minute…

I enjoy trying “new” things. Since 2005, starting with the digital rebel XT, I have used cams from Canon (rebel xt, 5D, 5D2), Nikon (D300, D700, D3), Sony (a850). I also have owned the Leica M8 and now M9. Like most of you, I shoot and shoot and shoot, for enjoyment and as a passion. My subjects are my world, which means mostly family/people photos (boring to most, but priceless to me) and I am guessing that I have taken probably 150,000 photos. Or more. In the digital world, you can take (and toss) a lot of photos. I’m not trying to say I shoot more than someone else, and most of my photos from any given session are so similar that I keep one and recycle all the others. But as an avid user of several systems, I have a decent amount of experience on both the SLR and rangefinder platforms. I know the “on paper” pluses and minuses of both systems, and, on paper, slr cameras clearly have the advantage, given price to performance.

As I mentioned, I recently joined flickr to host images mostly for my family (the grandparents) to view and enjoy. While much of what I consider my best work will never see flickr (or the light of day) because it is more fashion or “fine art” oriented subject matter, what I discovered is that, out of everything that I have taken over the years, my best photos on flickr come from my rangefinder shooting. Because of the different cameras I’ve enjoyed over the years, the BULK of my work comes from SLR cameras. There might be ten times the amount pictures from my Canon/Nikon/Sony but the photos that I love (and that my unbiased wife really likes) come from my Leicas.

This brings us back to the start: Some people will and do see the world and photograph differently with a rangefinder than with other cameras. And this might be, as in my case, better (That premise also says that for others, it could be worse!). But if you, like me, do your best work with a rangefinder, then you’ll want one, no matter the cost!

So, what about the M8? The camera once championed but now forgotten with the arrival of the M9. Was it the flawed failure some say? A half-baked attempt at a digital rangefinder? Cropped sensor a handicap? 10 megapixels is too little? ISO limitations too much? Read the online forums and you will get all sorts of answers and arguments from fanboys and haters alike. But with the release of the M9, and as the price of the M8 has fallen to $2k or less, the M8 is a camera to take a hard look at if you need to shoot a digital rangefinder but can’t afford the M9.

Now, I’m going to save my discussion of “cheap” rangefinder lenses to the aforementioned article I am writing with the M9 in mind (if, after this piece Steve is still interested!). Let me skip right to article’s conclusion and give my not so humble opinion: While Leica glass may be the “gold standard” by which all rangefinder lenses are compared, there are plenty of quality lens options available on the new and used market to allow, for the price of one new Leica 50 Summicron lens, a person to completely outfit their rangefinder lens kit. Boom, there it is!

So, you can get a New-To-U (used) M8 for about $2k (or less) and a complete lens outfit for another $2k (or less) and you are all set. For a bit over half the price of the M9, you can have an M8 and lenses and be out taking and making great photos! The price of admission, my friends, is reason #1 that the M8 should be considered over the M9 as your way to enter rangefinder photography. Let’s look at a few other things.

The Crop Factor

The M8 has a 1.3x crop factor. That’s not too terrible. The mid-level Canon’s and Nikons and even the pro-level Canon sports cams have crops. The downside is that wide angle lenses are not so wide. And “apparent” depth of field is increased, so lenses appear to give you a slightly higher depth of field (we won’t discuss why this is, but it is mostly because of subject distance from camera which seems to change depth of field). What about the benefits? The most obvious benefit is that lenses known to be “not so good” due to softness at the field edges are now usable. As you are using the center of the lens, the softer edges do no impact the image as much or at all, depending on the lens. This makes older lenses that might be too soft on the full framed M9 now viable options. So, your pool possible lens choices is actually larger with the M8 than what you would consider with the M9. Additionally, the 50mm lens, which is a decent portrait lens on the M9, becomes a fantastic portrait focal length on the M8. I actually miss this with the M9!

Ten megapixels.

Is ten megapixels enough? For what? For many users and for most applications, ten megapixels is plenty. For people with size issues and number envy, ten might seem far too little. The major camera manufacturers have been using the bigger-is-better argument to sell point and shoots and DSLRs to the masses now for years. And this argument works! People believe they need the biggest, the “most” of whatever they can get for the money. This is a psychological argument that is in no way limited to sensor size: We see it every day in commercials for fast food, homes, automobiles, etc. No matter the product, people psychologically link value to perceived measurements. The bigger objective value retailers place on a given aspect of a certain product, the more we as consumers seem to attach a higher subjective value on that product as well. Once you impose a real life limitation to this argument, such as how big do you need to print, then this argument comes to a screeching halt at a certain point. While 6 megapixels was a great improvement from 3 megapixels, once you reach ten megapixels of super sharp data (given the lack of the blurring anti-aliasing filter) and you can print 16×24 inches very, very nicely, how much more do you really need? I rarely print over 8×10. Sometimes 11×14 or 11×17, I guess. Where is your hard limit?

I suspect that most people do not print much bigger than 16×24 on a regular basis. If that is your portion size, then the bigger-is-better megapixel argument has hit its limit with you: You don’t need to super size this one!

ISO Limitations

I will be the first to say it: I did not like the inherent ISO capabilities of the M8 and greatly appreciate the 1 to 1.5 stop advantage of the M9. This makes a real difference to me. I live in the cloudy Northwest, where it rains and is dark most of the year. Summer is short and light is scarce. Now, if I lived in sunny Florida where it stays lighter and brighter for most of the year and that light remains late into the day, I might not noticed the ISO limitations of the M8 at all. ISO is really where the Leica’s fall behind their competitors. For me my hard limit is hit with the M9: I can shoot what I want when I want, and I really would not shoot much more. For a guy who shoots concerts or in low light venues, the M9 might not reach their hard limit. The Canon or Nikon low light camera du jour might be the only way to go, if you have to get “that shot” in the dark!

That said, the M8 (and M9) has very grain-like noise. Not the color-smudgy-blurry noise I get with my Canon 5D2 – Rather you get a really a nice, grain-like pattern that, when viewed in prints, is not unattractive and reminds me of “the look of film.” What can I say, I like it! Sometimes I would purposefully use ISO 640 on the M8 to get that film-like noise.

So, if the crop factor, the megapixel count and the ISO capabilities of the camera do not impact your shooting, then the M8 is a fantastic camera for you! An inexpensive used but clean M8 might be the perfect way to enter digital rangefinder photography.

There are definitely aspects of the M9 that I appreciate, subtle but very real improvements that make the M9 the “right” choice, for me. No matter what “the experts” pontificate about online, I know, from shooting the camera and working the images, the M9 files have less noise, more dynamic range (which helps me when processing) and definitely have a different in-camera image engine that make the overall look of the files more rich and colorful. The M9 is what I had hoped the M8 would be. But looking back at the photos that I now cherish, the M8, for all its real or imagined shortcomings, gave me more “keepers” than all my dslr’s combined. Boy, that’s a terrible camera!

Rob Chisholm is a photo-enthusiast living in the Pacific Northwest.

More of his work can be seen on his flickr site at:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/feros-ferio/

Sep 212010
 

Ok, so the Titanium M9 has landed and it has stirred up quite a bit of controversy with most of the responses on this site saying it was a bad move by Leica to introduce this camera. Many say the design is ugly, the cost  too high, and Leica is more concerned with being a fashion statement than a camera company. I wanted to chime in with my thoughts on the “Titanium M9″ and why I feel it was a good thing for Leica to do right now. Yes! I said a GOOD  THING! BTW, David Farkas has some great photos from the Leica event yesterday at his blog HERE.

Leica shooters are a funny breed. We love the brand for many reasons. Personally, I enjoy Leica for their style, their simplicity, their “too the point” nature. They are cameras first and foremost. Pick up an M3, M6 or MP and you will know that you are holding a REAL camera in your hand. Same goes for an M8 and M9, and even the little X1. This Titanium M9 may be  a bit over the top in its design,  but I will predict that Leica will sell all 500 of them.

I see nothing wrong with Leica producing a special edition that they know they can sell to collectors and some users alike. This will boost not only Leicas bottom line, but also it will get their name out into the world even more as more and more websites will report on this crazy $20k+ camera produced by Leica! Im sure if you google “Titanium M9″ right now that the news of this camera is everywhere. Nothing wrong with press, even if its controversial.

Leica is smart in many ways, and not so smart in others. I will not get into my complaints about them here but by building this almost futuristic looking digital M9 Leica has created loads of buzz once again. They still offer the classics like the MP, M7, and M9. Those are still here and they are all highly capable cameras. They are not going anywhere and this TI M9 is not a replacement to the current, standard M9!

This Titanium M9 is a statement piece. Leica had to have something special for Photokina so this is what they did. Also, I feel that things they did in THIS M9 will pave the way for new features in the M10 when that is announced in 2012/2013. Nothing but good can come from this TiM9 for everyone. More profit for Leica, new features for future M’s, etc.

Also think about this…

Leica is a small company, MANY times smaller than Nikon, Canon, or Panasonic. Leica can not be expected to pump out new cameras every year, just not possible and besides, why would we want that anyway? Why would we want to spend $7000 on an M9 and months later have them release an M9.2? I know I would be PISSED if this happened. The M9 is an awesome “Picture Taking Machine” which is really all that matters in the end isn’t it? Why do we need an M9.2 right now? We dont! DO we not all see amazing results from our M9′s already? Is there something there that hinders our ability to get great results with it? NO!

Last year was the year of Leica. They were riding high on the M9 and X1 announcements and rightly so. Both of these cameras are excellent. Some quirks, yes. But the design, the feel, and the image quality is all there. I still think they will be coming out with some sort of “R” solution within a year or so, but that is just my gut feeling. But as for Photokina, Leica did as good as they could expect to do given the size of the company and the fact that LAST YEAR they release TWO major cameras. They released a camera they can show off and sell to collectors AND users with deep enough pockets. They released a killer looking version of the X1 in all black with the M9 vulcanite, and they finally released the D-Lux 5 we have all been waiting for. The new Fuji X100 looks great but until we actually see one in person and in use, we can not say it will be a better bet than the X1, which is a proven image quality powerhouse.

I see nothing wrong with any of the Photokina releases though The V-Lux 2…I could have done without that one. :)

The bottom line is Leica is working at the pace they have ALWAYS worked at. Look how many years it took to get to the M7! Leica is not a company that will pump out new cameras on a yearly basis. The cameras they produce are timeless, classic, and HAND assembled with care. Do they have their share of problems? Sure they do but they are always fixable and that is what a warranty is for. I guess if you are like me and love the Leica brand, you deal with the quirks and appreciate the feel, the style, and the quality you get from these fine “Picture Taking Machines”. Go on Leica, keep doing what you do and always make image quality, simplicity and joy of use #1 and I think your fans will stick with you.

Steve

PS – Check out the image below – See the Black “M9″ (bottom right) but with the new design/top plate of the Ti? Could this be a future M10 prototype? Probably not but working on this Titanium will pave the way to improvements in the M line. Hmmmm…looks nice in black!

PRESS RELEASE FOR THE TITANIUM LEICA M9

LEICA M9 ‘Titanium’ designed by Walter de’Silva

In collaboration with the chief designer of the Volkswagen Group, Leica Camera AG presents a unique special edition

Solms, Germany (September 21, 2010) – Leica Camera AG presents a new camera edition: The LEICA M9 ‘Titanium,’ debuting at Photokina on September 21. This exclusive special edition is the result of a collaboration with Walter de’Silva, the prominent automobile designer. Responsible for groundbreaking design concepts in the latest models from the Volkswagen Group, the chief designer and his Audi Design Team reinterpreted the design of the LEICA M9 just as he envisaged it. The outcome is a unique camera with a new rendering of the characteristic features of Leica rangefinder cameras, which lends precision engineering, unique style and solid titanium to extraordinary formal design.

The LEICA M9 ‘Titanium’ is an especially desirable object for both Leica connoisseurs and aficionados of outstanding design. The LEICA M9 ‘Titanium’ is constructed exclusively with premium quality materials. All visible metal elements of the camera body are made from solid titanium, a particularly light but extremely strong and durable metal that can only be manufactured with special tools. This special edition is strictly limited to only 500 cameras worldwide and is offered as a set together with a LEICA SUMMILUX-M 35mm f/1.4 ASPH. lens, whose exterior metal components are also manufactured from solid titanium.

Walter de’Silva has given the Leica M camera an ergonomic, precise, logical and stringent look and feel without changing the intrinsic character of the rangefinder camera. Thus, the compact construction and technical features of the LEICA M9 ‘Titanium’ retain the distinctive style of a true Leica M camera.

Walter de’Silva addressed not only the design of the camera, but also focused on its handling and technical features. These features include the completely new LED illumination of the bright-line frames in the viewfinder, thus removing the necessity for the standard illuminating

window and making the frontal aspect of the camera more balanced. Entirely new in the history of camera technology is the camera’s carrying concept. In place of the traditional strap lugs of standard cameras, Walter de’Silva and Leica engineers developed an innovative camera carrying concept that is reduced to only one single mounting point on the camera body. The metal finger loop covered with fine Nappa leather ensures a secure, steady and ergonomic grip when shooting or carrying the camera with only one hand. Furthermore, the new specially designed, stylish shoulder holster holds and safely protects the camera and lens in transport and keeps it ready to shoot at a moment’s notice.

The camera’s trim, which uses leather typically reserved for the interiors of Audi’s premium automobiles, fits perfectly with the body’s titanium surface and provides outstanding grip. The grip characteristics are further enhanced by a specially designed and embossed diamond structure. In addition, the exposed surfaces are treated with a hard coating applied by a specialized company in Switzerland. Scratch-resistant, sapphire-crystal glass is employed as a protective cover for the camera monitor and further enhances the exclusive and rugged character of the camera. The Leica logo has been restyled and is elaborately hand-engraved in pure resin, inlayed with white enamel and subsequently sealed with a clear varnish and polished.

The LEICA SUMMILUX-M 35mm f/1.4 ASPH. lens of this special edition features a new, focused design concept in which the essential elements harmonize perfectly with the style of the camera. Its round, screw-mount lens hood is constructed with four slits around its circumference to prevent obstruction of the view through the finder.

The LEICA M9 ‘Titanium’ special-edition set includes the camera body, Summilux-M 35mm f/1.4 ASPH. lens, distinctive shoulder holster, carrying strap and finger loops in two different sizes that are also in the same Audi premium leather as used on the camera body. Also part of the set is a book devoted to the design process leading to the creation of this high quality, special titanium edition, which also includes an interview with designer Walter de’Silva. The unique set is presented in an elaborately handcrafted black casket with recesses for the camera and lens lined with Alcantara microsuede in Leica red.

The LEICA M9 ‘Titanium’ will be available starting November 2010.

Sep 202010
 

What all of you have been waiting for…the big Leica announcements! Let’s see if my crystal ball was correct!

The Limited Edition Titanium M9

Talk about a DREAM Digital M! The big one has arrived! The king of digital rangefinders… YES! The Titanium M9 special edition. Only 500 made and will come with a matching 35 Summilux ASPH (new version). This is an all new design of the M9 which is pretty damn sexy in some ways, and in others not. The cool thing is the LED frame lines, very cool! I am confident these will make their way to an M10 but probably not until 2013. This is a very nice camera but I know I will never buy one as it is just so damn expensive so I probably wouldn’t anyway, but I am guessing these will sell out without a problem. There are plenty out there who can afford it, and WILL buy it. BTW, the M9 was re-designed by Volkswagen designer Walter de Silva. Just looks so…different.

So here it is, anywhere $22k-#27k for the set. The Titanium M9! This official pic looks much nicer than the one I had up yesterday.



The Black Leica X1

I actually saw this camera MONTHS AGO while in Mexico and chatting with Stefan Daniels. Looked sexy and sleek. I liked it alot and think it was a great move to produce an all black X1 though it appears the new Fuji may steal some of the X1′s thunder (though the Fuji is almost 2X as big as the X1) – Yes, the X1 is sleek, sexy and more discreet in black. The innards are the same, this is only a cosmetic change and a change to black with the black M9 covering as well. The X1 is a proven image quality machine and you cant deny it looks pretty damn good in black :)

Looking good in all black! In fact, I REALLY DIG THE BLACK.


The D-Lux 5

It has landed! The one many of you guys have been waiting for and this is a version of the Panny LX-5, same camera. We all know these are made by Panasonic but the Leica will offer you a longer warranty, better software and the firmware and cosmetics are different. The D-Lux 4 was a huge hit for Leica, so I will take a guess here and say the D-Lux 5 will be an even bigger hit. I hope to review this camera soon…if Leica will honor my request and send me one to review!

Looks just about as expected :)


The Leica V-Lux 2

A 25-600 ZOOM! Yes, this is one of those big powerhouse zoom cameras that some people really get into. Usually the quality sucks with these cameras, and again, this is another “made by Panasonic camera” with the better software, longer warranty and much more attractive appearance (IMO). Another superzoom V-Lux. Not my cup of tea really as these usually do not offer the best IQ, but hey, its anther option for  those who want this kind of camera or those who want a small-ish camera with huge zoom capability.

So there you go! No “R” EVIL camera as I mentioned. Just a special edition for the wealthy, an update to the X1′s color, the V-Lux 2 and D-Lux 5.


Sep 202010
 

I have been watching evey few hours to see what is being announced PRE Photokina and most if it gives me a bIg fat yawn. Here is a page listing what I have seen SO FAR that I like. Leica has yet to “officially” announce so that will come in a later post. I did not put the cool Fuji X100 here as it has its own dedicated post HERE.

What I know so far: I have heard from a very reliable source that there will be NO Nikon D700X or D700s released right now. From what I understand, the D700 will remain in the lineup so for those waiting for the D700 replacement, it may be a while. I could be wrong of course, but my source is usually spot on. Never been wrong. The big thing for Leica will be the Titanium M9 and the D-Lux 5. Of course the Fuji I already spoke of yesterday (which is on my MUST try list) is the #1 hot item for me so far.

But so far, here is a listing of what is coming soon to the camera world that looks interesting, and most of it I will review as soon as I can get my hands on it all…more to come in the following days…

The Pentax K5


Yep, Pentax is replacing the K7 with the K5 which promises lower noice and a better sensor. I loved t he K7 so if this is better than it will be a fantastic camera. I was hoping for full frame though. Here is the press release

September 21, 2010: PENTAX Imaging Systems is pleased to announce the launch of the PENTAX K-5 interchangeable lens digital SLR camera.

Encased in a compact but solid, functional body, this new model comes equipped with a host of advanced photographic tools for the easy creation of great pictures, while delivering high standards of image quality, data processing speed and operability.

Developed using the highly acclaimed PENTAX K-7 (introduced to the market in June 2009) as its base, the K-5 inherits the exceptional reliability, user-friendly operation, array of advanced features and compact, lightweight body of its predecessor.

However, it is more resourceful and flexible in photographic expression. Combining a new high-speed, low-noise CMOS image sensor with the high-performance PRIME II imaging engine, it produces super-high-resolution, rich-gradation digital images with approximately 16.28 effective megapixels, even when shooting in the continuous shooting mode at a maximum speed of approximately seven images per second.

It also offers an extra-wide sensitivity range between ISO 80 and ISO 51200 (when expanded via a custom function) and full HD-proportion movie recording at 1920 x 1080 pixels to expand the boundaries of high-quality visual presentation.

Adding other improvements and refinements — such as a faster autofocusing speed, an upgraded HDR (High Dynamic Range) function now usable in handheld shooting, and better operability through an overall review of the design and shape of all components — the K-5 is designed to be more functional and manoeuverable in every detail, and in its response to the demands of the photographer.

What are its key features?

High-resolution, low-noise, true-to-life image reproduction

The K-5 incorporates a newly designed CMOS image sensor with a wide image-sensitive area measuring 23.7mm by 15.7mm. It assures high-speed image data readout much faster than that of previous sensors. By coupling this image sensor — equivalent in performance and data processing speed to the image sensor incorporated in the PENTAX 645D medium-format digital camera — with the reliable PRIME (PENTAX Real Image Engine) II imaging engine, the K-5 produces super-high-resolution, rich-gradation digital images with 16.28 effective megapixels, while suppressing annoying digital noise to a minimum.

High-speed continuous shooting at approximately seven images per second

The K-5’s high-speed continuous shooting mode records as many as 22 images in a single sequence at a maximum speed of seven images per second.

Responsive, high-precision AF system

The K-5 features a new-generation, wide-frame SAFOX IX+ autofocus system with 11 sensor points (with nine cross-type sensors positioned in the middle). This sophisticated AF system has completely redesigned optics, and factors the light source at the time of shooting into its calculations to improve the accuracy of autofocus operation. It also offers a choice of shutter-release options — between focus priority and release priority in the AF.S (single) advance mode, or between focus priority and speed priority in the AF.C (continuous) advance mode. The K-5 is also equipped with a spotbeam projector to assist the AF system in poorly lit locations.

Compact, solid, functional camera body

Despite its compact dimensions, the K-5 is built to be exceptionally solid and durable, with a body of sturdy yet lightweight magnesium alloy, and a chassis of high-rigid stainless steel. Thanks to the inclusion of 77 special seals in the body, it also boasts a dustproof, weather-resistant and cold-resistant construction, assuring reliable operation even under harsh environment and at temperatures as low as -10°C. It also features a reliable shutter unit that provides a top shutter speed of 1/8000 second and tested to 100,000 shutter releases.

Bright, clear optical viewfinder with 100% field of view

The K-5 features a pentaprism finder with a nearly 100% field of view and at 0.92-times magnification (with a 50mm F1.4 lens at infinity) to provide a better view of the image field and improve the accuracy and speed of focusing and image composition. It also comes with the renowned Natural-Bright-Matte focusing screen to assist the photographer with manual-focus operation.

Effortless Live View shooting

Thanks to a new image sensor and a more sophisticated algorithm, the K-5’s Contrast AF mode assures better performance and greater focusing speed than before during Live View shooting. With the addition of a Golden Section display, the K-5 offers a choice of three different grid patterns to facilitate image composition.

PENTAX-original SR mechanism with user-assisting options

The K-5 features the PENTAX-developed SR (Shake Reduction) mechanism, which effectively compensates the adverse effect of camera shake by 2.5 to 4 shutter steps, to produce sharp, blur-free images.

Recording of Full HD-proportion movies (1920 x 1080 pixels, 25 frames per second)

The K-5 captures beautiful, true-to-life movie clips in 16:9 full HD proportions (1920 x 1080 pixels) at a frame rate of 25 frames per second. The K-5 also provides greater possibilities in visual presentation in movies, especially through the application of custom images and digital filters.

Innovative image-processing functions to produce distinctive photographic expressions

Custom image function for distinctive finishing touches: letting users easily select the desired finishing touch for a particular image.

Versatile digital filter function: The K-5’s digital filter function allows the user to process recorded images in a variety of creative ways and produce highly individualized visual expressions without requiring a computer.

Cross process mode with three options: The K-5 features the unique cross process mode, in which the camera automatically shifts photographic parameters for each exposure to create eye-catching images with unique, dramatic colours.

HDR (High Dynamic Range) function: The K-5 features the HDR (high dynamic range) function to create one composite image with an extra-wide gradation range from three images with different exposures, without requiring a computer.

In addition it has…

Electronic level function, with a newly added tilt confirmation tool

Extended-exposure NR (Noise Reduction) function, with a choice of Auto, On and Off modes

High-sensitivity NR (Noise Reduction) function, with a camera-dependent Auto mode and a user-adjustable reduction level control for different sensitivity settings

RAW/Fx button, for single-action switching of image file format

Large, easy-to-view 3.0-inch wide-view colour LCD monitor with 921,000 dots

77-segment multi-pattern metering system for extra-accurate light measurement

DR II (Dust Removal II) mechanism

Long battery life, for recording of 1,100 images with full recharge

User-friendly Hyper control system, to flexibly and accurately respond to the photographer’s creative intentions

Dynamic-range expansion function, to compensate for both whitewashed (overexposed) and black-out (underexposed) areas

Automatic compensation of distortion and lateral chromatic aberration (available only with DA-,DFA- and FA Limited-series lenses)

CTE mode, to automatically adjust the white-balance level to emphasize primary colours of sunset scenes

Attachment of copyright credits on recorded images

D-BG4 Battery Grip (optional) for extra power supply with an exclusive rechargeable lithium-ion battery or six AA-size batteries

Colour-specific control buttons/dials for easy recognition and quick access, based on the universal colour design

PENTAX Digital Camera Utility 4 software package

The K-5 will be available from mid-late October 2010.


The Nikon D7000

The replacement to the Nikon D90 is here and looks good, I must say! This will be a popular camera just as the D90 was though I still feel there is a shift going on here where the smaller cameras with larger sensors may start to become more popular for everyday non pros. You can already PRE-ORDER this camera at B&H Photo. Here is the press release on the Nikon D7000:

Nikon launches the D7000, a D-SLR that offers exceptional image quality, reliability and performance packed into a durable and portable body.

Exceptional image quality

The D7000 includes a range of new features to ensure superior image quality including 16.2 effective megapixels with the newly developed Nikon DX format CMOS image sensor. The camera boasts a new image-processing engine, EXPEED 2, which delivers higher image quality, higher speed processing and multiple functions with more power. And the D7000’s increased ISO sensitivity (100-6400, extendable up to 25600) ensures exceptional detail with minimal noise when capturing fast moving subjects or in poor light situations, even without the flash.

Outstanding reliability

The D7000’s bright Glass Pentaprism Viewfinder with approximate 100% frame coverage and 0.94x magnification gives you the most precise view and focus of any scene, and it is always ready when you are with a shutter speed of 1/8000s, tested to 150,000 cycles. What is more, the camera is protected by magnesium alloy top and rear covers and has durable sealing against dust and moisture so it is prepared for even the most testing of situations.

When it comes to storage, the D7000 again provides you with maximum reliability. The twin SD memory card slots allow for added storage capacity and give you the freedom to manage your images and video in the way you want to either by saving more of them, keeping different formats separate or always having backup space when you need it.

Enhanced performance

The D7000’s newly developed AF system featuring 39 focus points, including 9 cross-type sensors in the centre, gives you the sharpest focus, no matter where your subject is in the frame. And with Nikon’s new 2,016 pixel RGB metering sensor to enhance the effectiveness of the Scene Recognition System, plus High Speed Continuous shooting capability at 6FPS, you can be sure to capture incredibly accurate, high-quality images every time.

Full-HD D-Movie with AF-F mode

The D7000 has direct access to a movie record button so you can capture footage in full HD (1080p) with greater ease. The AF-F gives continuous focus during movie recording, which is captured using MPEG4 AVC/H.264 compression, and has a stereo microphone jack for quality sound recording. This means superior image quality and operability when using the D-Movie function.

The D7000s built-in movie editing functions also give you the freedom to chose the start and end points of your footage and switch to selected frames for capturing still images without relying on a computer – letting you edit and share your films quickly and easily.

Optional accessories

Nikon is also launching the new Speedlight SB-700, a feature-packed yet easy-to-use flash unit. The SB-700 offers lighting benefits that greatly surpass the camera onboard flash, allowing total control over scene or subject lighting to create beautiful, professional looking results.

To guarantee great performance for longer, the D7000 also has a dedicated Multi-Power Battery Pack MB-D11 (optional) that enables seamless switching of power supply with the in-camera battery, vertical shooting and further stabilizes the body when using a long telephoto lens.

The D7000 is compatible with the GP-1 GPS (Global Positioning System) unit which records location information in the image file and of course, the camera supports a wide variety of NIKKOR lenses.


The Sony NEX 10 Video Camera – IN STOCK AT B&H PHOTO NOW!

FINALLY! A camcorder made with a larger sensor APS sensor! Sony has taken their NEX series to the next level in the form of a video camera which can take all of the NEX lenses. Specs look sweet and a buddy of mine has one already so cant wait to get his feedback. I would love to review this as well so maybe soon. Only concern is the price on this one. $1999 seems a little steep but we will have to wait and see how it does in the real world compared to say, a NEX 5.  There is one review already over at Luminous Landscape.

From Sonys Site:

Presenting a creative breakthrough: the first Handycam® camcorder to accept interchangeable lenses. The ergonomically designed NEX-VG10 camcorder has a large Sony Exmor™ APS HD CMOS sensor that boasts 19.5 times the surface area of conventional8 camcorders resulting in gorgeous, cinematic, depth of field. Shoot AVCHD™ video at up to 24Mbps at full 1920×1080/60i HD resolution and still photography up to 14 megapixels. Pursue your creative vision with the supplied 11x zoom 18-200mm Optical SteadyShot™ image-stabilized lens. You can also add your favorite A-mount lenses5 including award-winning G lens and Carl Zeiss® lenses, via an adaptor (sold separately). A Quad Capsule Spatial Array stereo microphone records spectacular audio to complete your creative vision.

Sep 192010
 

Fuji says $1000 USD for the X100 and a March 2011 Release!

CHECK OUT THE NEW VIDEO BELOW!!

Wow, check this out! Fuji Just announced a camera that I CAN NOT WAIT TO TRY OUT! AWESOME!!! Fuji is going to have a home run with this one…

The new FUJI X100 and it looks so similar to a Leica X1. This is a large sensor compact and comes in with 12 Megapixels, a 35mm equivalent Fujinon lens that opens up to f/2, and 720P HD video recording. This could be an X1 killer because it even has analouge controls and a killer hybrid viewfinder that can be used as an EVF or optical VF.

The official Fuji page for this camera is HERE so be sure to check it out! Notice the lens has an Aperture dial!

The design is so sweet! I can not wait to see what the price will come in at. I will be trying to get my paws on one of these ASAP, so stay tuned…

Funny how they named it the X100 :)

Sep 182010
 

Just an update to my Crystal Ball update! There will be no new Leica EVIL camera at Photokina. No “R” solution. Basically, the new stuff will consist of:

  • As already reported elsewhere, a New Special Edition M9 – Titanium w new 35 Lux ASPH and get this…a new way to show the frame lines. Cant say more than that but this will be big $$ but wow, it is gorgeous. Possibly the sexiest camera EVER made. You will see pics of this on Monday.
  • D-Lux 5 will of course be announced and I predict this will be a HOT camera.
  • V-Lux 2 – Superzoom compact, small sensor – so so quality.
  • Something new with the X1 – cosmetic only.

The rumored and much talked about Leica “R” solution/EVIL camera will NOT be announced at Photokina.

Sep 172010
 

For Immediate Release

‘BERLINSPIRATION’

Leica Camera starts a virtual paper chase through Berlin

Solms, Germany (September 17, 2010) - On September 14, 2010, Leica Camera AG began a virtual paper chase through Berlin – ‘Berlinspiration’. For seven consecutive days, the German camera manufacturer will post pictures of the capital city on its Facebook page, and invites fans of photography from around the world to take part in the puzzle by guessing the locations of the photos and getting to know Berlin from an entirely new perspective.

The contest prize is a brand-new Leica camera that will be launched at this year’s Photokina, the leading trade show for the world of photography, held September 21-26, 2010 in Cologne, Germany. Additionally, posters showing the winner will be posted on billboards around the city. Berlinspiration finishes on September 21 and the winner will be announced on September 22 at 3 p.m. at Photokina.

Berlinspiration is not the place to go looking for touristy pictures of the city’s sights: the photos are unusual and humorous insights into the life of the metropolis. To guide you, Leica has hidden away on the web a choice of five different answers and digital clues. True ‘Berlinsiders’ may have the competitive edge – but a bit of research on the Web offers people around the world a great chance of finding all the right answers too.

A trailer posted on Vimeo also publicizes Berlinspiration on the Web – click here to view it: http://vimeo.com/leicacamera . If you want to take part in Berlinspiration, all you have to do is click here: http://www.facebook.com/LeicaCamera .

About Leica Camera:

Leica represents a union of craftsmanship, technology and experience. It is at once an extension of art, knowledge and philosophy, providing a state-of-the-art optical experience in a precision, hand-made photographic instrument. Leica Camera has a simple mission: to provide users with an incomparable experience, an instrument that defines an unsurpassed heritage and sets a standard of excellence for the industry to meet.

Sep 172010
 

It’s Friday! Hope you all have a great and relaxing weekend and enjoy today’s daily inspiration submitted by Steve McOrmond. – Steve

Hi Steve,

I love your site and visit daily to get my Huff fix. I also love rangefinder photography, both film and digital. I’d like to share a few photos taken recently with my Leica M8 and wonderful Zeiss ZM 25mm f/2.8 Biogon T* lens, which rarely finds its way off my camera.

These pics were taken at “The Ex” or, more formally, the Canadian National Exhibition is Toronto. This annual exhibition includes a carnival midway, farm petting zoo and a whole lot more.

My wife and I hadn’t been to the Ex since we were kids. As an adult, I was struck by the contrast between the pure joy of the children at the midway and the general griminess and dilapidation of the rides and games tents; the clash of innocence and experience.

The post-processing in these images is a little heavier than I normally employ. There was just something about the over-the-top, garish quality of the midway – and that ominous sky – that seemed to call for some equally over-the-top processing and toning to bring out the atmosphere I was after. I used Lightroom, Nik Software Color Efex or Silver Efex Pro to get the look I wanted.

Larger versions can be viewed on my Flickr site: http://www.flickr.com/photos/stevemcormond/

Thanks for the great content, reviews and the inspiration to get out and shoot, Steve!

All best,

Steve McOrmond

Sep 162010
 

DISCLAIMER: This is a 3 in the morning rant when I was feeling a bit emotional and is NOT camera related though there are photos :) You guys know my blog can get totally random at times. This is one of those times. Some personal things here but you guys are all my friends :) – Steve

Sitting here up and wide awake at 3am as my life has been through some ups and downs lately. Crazy ups and downs and I am surprised I have even been able to function lately. My brain has been overloaded with emotions with my personal life, my mother who was just in the hospital for heart surgery, giving it another go with my wife of 15 years that ended up emotionally draining me and stressing me out, my son who I worry about daily, my best friend who always looks out for me, and another special friend who I was not so kind to recently. Tonight though, my head is clear and I realized what is important in life. Not money, not material things, not status and not trying to please someone who is un-pleasable for you entire life.

No, what is important are friends and family and  those around you who think positive. Those who bring you up instead of down, and those who truly care about you. Those who support you in what you do and who you are. Those who give instead of just take. The ones who stick by you no matter what, through thick and thin.

With that said, here is a list of my favorite people in my life. Those who have helped me through tough times, helped me in good times, and given valuable advice that I did not always take and then later regretted. Maybe even my heroes. Yea, my heroes. Those who have affected my life and changed my life in many ways. Here we go…


My Mother, Cindy Huff

A HERO: My mom is the greatest. Since I was born she has taken care of me, nurtured me and has ALWAYS been there for me in every way. Just like a mother should be. She has never been mean to me, never shunned me, and always accepted me for who I am, no matter what mistakes in life I made. My mom was just recently hospitalized and almost had to go for open heart surgery. She is at home resting now, and I am thinking about her daily. I love you mom, will visit soon as I can.


My best friend in the world, Mike Smith

BEST FREIND: Mike Smith. Best of Friends since 8th grade, 1983. Pretty much my brother. This guy has went through all kinds of shit with me. Talk about life experience. I could write a book, or create a sitcom on our adventures while growing up. This guy is THE guy to go out drinking with. Funny, genuine and a guy that everyone gets along with. He would take a bullet for me, I know it.


My Son Brandon Huff

MY BEST FRIEND/SON: You all know Brandon as he has graced the pages of this website since day one, and many of you have witnessed him growing up with me! He is the most awesome son anyone could have. Kind, smart, and stays out of trouble. I love you Brandon, and will ALWAYS be there for you no matter what. Always know that and remember that. You mother also loves you with all of her heart. You are a great boy, but getting big!


My Sister, Wendy Johnston

HERO: I admit, I do not speak with her as much as I would like but I love her deeply. My sister has always been solid in her beliefs, her decisions, and is an incredible woman who takes rough things in life like they are nothing. She chews  them up and spits them out. She makes me look at myself and think that I can do much better than I do. I want to be strong like her. She has always been a great woman. I love my sister and plan to stay in touch with her more than I do now. Wendy, take it easy and get more rest. If you need a break, come to AZ for a few days.


Great friend, Ed Klein

LIFETIME BEST FRIEND: We do not always see eye to eye, especially in politics, but Ed has been a friend since 5th grade and we have always kept in touch. He lives 1800 miles away right now but we still talk every week at least. Facebook also helps :) He is into Route 66 and helping keep it alive and well. You can see his Route66 web site here at route66world.com – Ed will always be a good friend. Me, Ed and Mike were known as the ‘Three Musketeers” in grade school. Check out our 8th grade pic below…

BELOW: Mike, Me and Ed – 8th Grade Graduation 1983 – still great friends today.


SEAL

ALL OF THE ABOVE: Seal has been so kind to me. He has been a great friend  to me for what will soon be two years. We talk on the phone every week, sometimes daily. He helped me through a very dark time in my life by inviting me on tour with him to shoot photos, and it was great therapy. Having heart to heart talks with him are amazing as he is filled with wisdom. Seal is a warm and REAL person. He is also a fantastic music artist and amazing photographer who is just as big of a Leica nut as I am. Thank you Seal, shooting your europe shows was the time of my life even though I was in a dark place! It helped me more than you know.

His new album Seal 6: Commitment is coming out in less than two weeks. You can checkout his website HERE.

FINALLY, ALL OF YOU GUYS WHO VISIT, READ AND CONTRIBUTE TO THIS BLOG! THANK YOU!!!!

Sep 152010
 

Hot on the heels of Ashwins Noctilux article I thought I would share some snaps I shot last weekend while in Long Beach CA on a mini road trip.

Went on a trip to Long Beach, CA to visit the Queen Mary (ship) and had lots of fun exploring the ship and enjoying the awesome weather and of course I brought along the Leica M9 and the mystical, magical, most amazing NEVER IN STOCK Leica 50 Summilux ASPH! This is my 2nd favorite lens for the M8 or M9 EVER next to the new 35 Summilux ASPH (which seems to be delayed). Anyway, we took the tours on the ship like the “Haunted Encounters” tour and the “Ghosts and Legends” but they were a bit boring actually :) Also went to the Aquarium in Long Beach and that was also lots of fun.

As usual, the M9 did great with the 50. Low light, sunlight…no problem :)

So enjoy the images below all shot with this amazing combo.

Brandon exiting the Russian Scorpion Submarine

and on the ships deck goofing around…

I think he is in need of a haircut…

We went to the Aquarium in Long Beach as well. Was very cool but dark though the M9 and 50 Lux ASPH handled it without a problem. All at 1.4 You can click on any image on this page for a larger view!

This little boy was amazed at the sights he saw in this tank!

The ability of the 50 Lux ASPH to Isolate your subject is remarkable.

ISO 1600  - low light – 1.4

The StingRay cometh – 1.4

The Wall Of Color – Love this one…

Back in the Russian Sub ISO 2500 was needed with that 1.4 aperture…

Some B&W in the room…

Grabbed this at f/8 on our way home…

Lorikeet feeding. This guy was feeding a Lori at the Aquarium

A seagull waiting and hoping for some food…probably f/2.8

Just some rope  to see how the yellow would turn out. Love the colors of the M9.

and my reflection in an old elevator….

Snapped the next two while driving

Sep 142010
 

With Photokina just around the corner in Cologne Germany many have been asking me what Leica has planned for the show. I soooooo wanted to go this year but couldn’t make it due to other obligations, but next time I AM going and will cover it live..in 2012 :) Until then I have some predictions, some vague but they are predictions nonetheless.

Some questions I have been getting lately:

“Steve, is Leica announcing an M10 at Photokina”?

“Steve, will the X2 be unveiled in Cologne”?

“Will Leica release a new R mount SLR this year”?

“Is it safe to buy an M9 or will there be an M9.2 at Photokina”?

Well, I do not know the answers to these questions with 100% certainty, and even if I did I could not spill the beans here!

I do know what MAY be coming as last night I gazed into my magical crystal ball, and I did see a new camera!  Semi small (smaller than an M9 but larger than an X1) I think they will release this as an “in between” model. Something between the X1 and M9. Something that MAY take R lenses as well as other lenses. Could be good and maybe full frame. BUT BUT BUT, this one may be delayed a bit…

Also, the M9 is not going to be replaced by an M10 just yet. My crystal ball says an M10 would not be until 2012. At least 2012, probably 2013. BUT I also think they may be releasing something VERY special for M fans with deep pockets that hints at the future of the M line. Really deep pockets and really beautiful. Not what you would expect. Others have hinted at a Titanium M9 set with 35 1.4, hmmm, yes but there is something VERY special about this M9. Very cool.

I also think there will be a couple of new options for all of us Leica camera lovers who enjoy the current compact offering.

How about the D-Lux 5? Yep, I think that Leica will release the D-Lux 5 and if they were smart, they would already have these made and ready to ship by the end of the month. This will be a HOT seller, and I may take the plunge for this one myself. V-Lux 2 keeps popping into the ball as well.

So to be clear, my Crystal ball has seen the following for Photokina and Leica:

  • An all new camera, possibly an R mount solution but maybe not. Maybe multiple lens compatible. Smaller than an M9, larger than X1. Basically a new made in Germany camera. Could my crystal ball be wrong? Sure, it has been in the past but its hitting at an 84% correct rate these days :) – This one could possibly be delayed…for a year or so…
  • The D-Lux 5!
  • No M10, sorry but I did see something REALLY cool and expensive for M lovers, something very limited edition, very expensive, and with a hint of something Leica may do for a future M10 – ALL I CAN SAY! . I did not see an M9.2.
  • The X1 is still the X1 but it looked different in the ball. Couldn’t make it out but looked like an X1, and was NOT an X2. More stealthy.
  • A new V-Lux 2 – big lens zoom, small sensor. Made by Panasonic.
  • I think Leica will now have a “trio” of made in Germany cameras and the D-Lux 5/V-Lux 20 which will be made by Panasonic in Japan. (again the EVIL camera may be delayed according to my new view in to the ball)

These are just my predictions so take it all as just that. Predictions. :) We shall see soon enough!

Sep 132010
 

Hi Steve,

Hello from Shanghai…er, it is in China.

have been following your site for a long time and you are the one who built up my confidence to Leica M digital. so on top of my other 4 Leica film cameras, i bought a M8 for daily shot and really have had much fun!

The picture I send today was taken by a Hasselblad Xpan II with 45/4 lens when i was in Turkey mid August.

The country is beautiful with very nice people. What’s more, combination of different culture is the most attractive thing.

Hass Xpan is so great but i still put a Leica in my bag everyday. probably the L is not only a gear, but also a mood with me.

for more picture you can check link below (surely you can ignore some Chinese text) :

http://forum.smartant.net/index.php/topic,2189.15.html

attached picture on order:

1 sunset in Pammukale

2 Hagia Sophia, Istanbul

3 Bosporus

4 kids outside the Blue Mosque

Cheers!

Sep 132010
 

Photographing New York Wide Open

By Ashwin Rao

Hi there, my fellow Steve Huffsters. It’s Ashwin, back after a long hiatus. I have been so busy taking photographs that I haven’t had much of a chance to sit down and write an article to share with all of you. Along the way, I have had many ideas for articles to write, but this one just jumped into my head after returning from my recent trip to New York City, where I dedicated nearly 2 days to photography! As most of you know, Steve has organized a daylong New York City photo shoot in October, which will be AWESOME. Sadly, I cannot attend this work shop, but it doesn’t mean that I can’t participate in my own way….maybe through a bit of inspiration or a prequel of many great images that certainly come from that exciting day of photography….

A Light Moment During Chess, Central Park West

I have been privileged to own the Leica Noctilux 50 mm f/0.95 for a few months now, and I continue to be amazed by its capacities as a lens. The Noctilux f/0.95 has been reviewed by many photo sites, including Steve’s wonderful review a few months back, and I must say that I have to agree with the primary sentiment: this is one heck of a lens This is an amazing lens to use wide open OR stopped down. It sure the heck should be, fore its exhorbitant price tag of more than $10,000. The New Noctilux is really comparable to the Leica Summilux 50 mm f/1.4 asph, who many, myself included, concur is the best 50 mm lens ever made. Truth be told, I sort of think of it as “Summilux on Steroids!” Yes, the rendering of the new Noctilux is very modern, clean, and well corrected, but in my eyes, the Noctilux f/0.95 has its own unique signature wide open that places it apart from any lens that has ever been made for 35 mm photography.

Spongebob and Elmo, friends?

Yup, They Sure Are!

I have always been one to use the lenses that I buy, and I recently ported the Noctilux and Leica M9 to New York for a couple of days of photography. I decided to challenge myself in a new way. How about shooting the city wide open, during the day, during the night, all of the time!!! How would you do this, you might ask? After all, shooting an f/0.95 lens wide open during the daytime would require very fast shutter speeds, ever at low ISO’s. The solution is a neutral density filter, so most of the daytime shots that you see here are composed with the Noctilux f/0.95 with a B + W 560 8x neutral density filter applied, which you can get here. In fact, a neutral density filter is really a must if you plan to use any Noctilux wide open during the day and take advantage of this series of lenses’ unique ability to control depth of field. The only issue that I could see in applying a ND filter is that at times, the Noctilux with ND filter applied can produce some vignetting in your images. Nothing objectionable really, but something that would be worth taking note.

Heading to Work in Style

Taking a Break from Work, Catnap in Bryant Park

No Time off For this Guy, and He’s Feeling It!

New York has so many photographic opportunities, and it’s not a place that you can cover in a day or 2.. It is one of America’s cultural meccas, and it is a city that has a palpable pulse, a huge diversity of culture, and endless opportunities for exploring your creative vision. During my stay in New York, I focused my efforts on exploring Manhattan. However, you would be equally enchanted by many of the other boroughs, including Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Queens. Some day, I will return to explore these areas and others, but for my 2 days, it was Manhattan, site of so many memorable places, including Times Square, the East Village, Central Park, Harlem, Grand Central Station, Madison Square Garden, the Empire State Building. Columbia University, Bleeker Street, Tribeca, Chelsea, and so much more. My strategy while here was to have my camera out, ready to shoot any opportunity, and capture life as I saw it in front of me. It was an exciting 2 days, filled with moments that were all parts tender, harsh, grand and intimate. I started my journey at Times Square, and set out on foot from there. I probably walked 60-70 blocks for each day of walking, making diverse trips to places such as B&H Photo & Video, Adorama Camera, the International Center for Photography, The New York Public Library, The Subway, Grand Central Terminal.

One of Many Characters in Times Square – Can You Help Find His Family?

During my stroll, I was amazed by how the Noctilux can have an amazing control of depth of field. Even when subjects are not at close distance, the Noctilux f/0.95 can create crisp separation of the photographed subject from its background. Unlike the Noctilux f/1, which has a creamier and swirlier out-of-foucs rendering (i.e. bokeh), the modern Noctilux is far more well corrected and renders in-focus elements far more sharply. This leads to the sense that my subjects POP from their background. I have seen this occasionally from the 50 mm Summilux asph, but Noctilux, with it’s f/0.95 aperture, can achieve this separation regularly.

Grand Central

Achieving focus with the Noctilux can be a challenge at times. Even at medium distances, the focus plane that the lens provides at f0.95 is RAZOR thin. At close focus, the challenge becomes even more daunting. Thankfully, I have had a few months to get to know this lens, and I found focus to be consistent. I came home and discovered that the lionshare of my images were in fact properly focused, or at least, close enough. And in some cases, even the out-of-focus images had their charm ;).

Achieving focus (The Seated Figure with Sunglasses was my Focus Point)

Bryant Park City Jugglers (this image is actually slightly out-of-focus, but I enjoyed it anyways)

The Empire State

Combining the Noctilux’s unique rendering with the wide and diverse palette of New York’s Photographic opportunies, I returned home with a veritable gold mine of images, that I will be sorting through and sharing with you for months to come. This is one of the great things about daylong photo strolls. You come home with so many images that you have raw material to explore for many months. This means that in some ways, you can continue to explore the city from the confines of your own computer monitor for many months and continue to enjoy the images that the city provides you. For all of you October New York work shop folks, I am excited to see what you will come home with. I am equally sad that I won’t be there with you. Hopefully, this article serves as inspiration to bring each and every one of you to visit New York. It’s a magical place full of life, culture, and spirit. And it’s a worthy stop for all of the photographers among you.

I will continue to add to my collection as I fiddle with images from these 2 days of shooting, which you can find here:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/ashwinrao1/sets/72157624932953750/

And of course, there’s a selection at my blog:

http://photos-ash.blogspot.com

Until we meet again next, here are a few more images from NYC for you to enjoy!

© 2009-2014 STEVE HUFF PHOTOS All Rights Reserved