May 262014
 

POLL: Do you guys want more News posts?

Hey guys! Happy memorial day to you all! hope some of you are out having a great relaxing day off! Just a quick poll question:

Do you guys want to see more industry news updates during the week? Like new camera announcements, new software, and all around general news updates? Usually I leave the news updates to the general photo sites and concentrate on reviews and readers experiences with photography and cameras. Not sure if more of you wanted news updates or to just keep things how they have been with user reports, guest reviews and my reviews. If you can, answer the poll below and we will see how it goes! I disabled comments for this post as comments are not needed, just a quick yes or no in the poll!

BTW, My Sony A6000 review is coming THIS WEEK! Been shooting it with the Zeiss Touit 32 1.8 and kit zoom and having a great time with it.

Thanks!

Steve

Feb 062014
 

The $11,500 Hasselblad HV! Oops, I mean Sony A99! 

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The new Hasselblad HV. A DSLR that offers no compromises with tough as nails build, jaw dropping beauty and is already a proven winner because it is indeed a Sony A99! All for $11,500! Woohoo!

Yes, this was announced 3-4 days ago or so but I had to wrap my head around this one and decide if I even wanted to give it exposure. Then I figured..well..why not, not many, if any, will buy one of these anyway! I mean, restyling a NEX-7 could have been cool as the NEX-7 is a cool camera. Restyling the mighty mite RX100 could also have been cool, as it is one hell of a pocket camera. Hasselblad accomplished to screw both of those up and turned the “could have been” into “Damn..we screwed up”.  The slow selling Lunar and Stellar prove that one.

But fear not, Hasselblad is forging on with the Sony morphs with the new Hasselblad HV 99 mainly because they had to as it has been in the works for a long while already.

I call this new Hasselblad the “HPV 99″ (there really is no 99 in the name, nor a “P”) because it is the Sony A99 with a new coat of paint and cosmetics at an almost $9000 premium, which to me sounds like a big old genital wart on the camera industry. Yep, should be called the HPV 99.

Yes, that is correct… the now older A99 that sells for $2700 can be had for $11,500 featuring the same shape, sensor, image quality, speed, and using the same Sony lenses for $11,500 US. Basically, we get a wooden case and fancy styling for our $9k and nothing more. Oh yea, “tough as nails” build quality.

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Someone at Hasselblad has either lost their minds or they are trying to only sell 50 of these worldwide. 

Like I said, I can see them blinging out the small and cool and capable mirror less cameras. Hell, even I held the Lunar and Stellar and liked the Stellar (RX100) quite a bit but could not bring myself to pay $3500 for a $600 camera, no matter how cool it looked and how good it felt.

The HPV 99 comes with a pelican style case because Hasselblad KNOWS that us photographers always like to carry our camera not in a bag or with a strap, but in a suitcase. 

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But why is Hasselblad giving this treatment to a fat bulky DSLR that will use the same fat bulky Sony DSLR lenses? I mean, who here would pay $11,500 for a Sony A99 with a new coat of paint when you can get a standard black A99 for $2700?!?!? This is not the same as Leica with their special editions as Leica is not taking an OM-D E-M1 that sells for $1600 and pimping it out with a Leica logo, blinging it out and charging $8,000 for it. Leica does not take a Fuji X-E2 and throw a coat on it and charge $7500. Leica takes their own premium M design and puts out a special edition here and there with very few units being made. What they do with Panasonic does not count as even when they give this treatment to the Panasonic P&S cameras they come in at a $200-$300 premium yet offer longer warranty, better software and better aesthetics.

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I am just confused as to what Hasselblad are doing but maybe I am cranky because I did not have my morning cup of coffee. One one hand Hasselblad seem to want to be like Leica yet at the same time they have no clue how to go about it. But I am here to offer my help to them.

Hasselblad..DESIGN YOUR OWN MASTERPIECE OF A CAMERA that lives up to the Hasselblad name. When you do that you will have something special. 

I am sure the HV will be beautiful, solid and extremely well made. But it is still an A99 any way you slice it. My question for you is..who here will be ordering the Hasselblad HV? $11,500 can buy you an amazing camera and a few lenses  – say a Sony A99 with $9k left for glass ;)

Vote in the poll below and feel free to comment!

Steve

Aug 072012
 

Leica M10 – September Photokina Announcement  – March 2013 Available from Dealers

So I heard it from a fly on the wall (actually a Leica rep told a reader this info) that the Leica M10, which is speculated by many to have a CMOS sensor (Stefan Daniel of Leica stated CMOS is the future), live view (Ditto), 24Mp sensor, EVF and or course HD video (strongly hinted at and suggested by Dr. Kaufman in May) and much improved high ISO performance, is 100% going to be announced at Photokina next month. There will be a camera on display but if you want one you will be waiting until Late Feb or early March 2013 before you take delivery. I also expect this camera to come in at $9-$10k. The pricing is just my guess but when I whipped out my crystal ball I saw a pile of cash with an M10 sitting on top eating it so…I know it will be more than an M9-P and Monochrom as they were sitting on smaller piles of cash.

In my opinion an M10 with a bug wart like EVF will be kind of “anti-M” and if this is the case I will not buy one. I will test one for sure but I think Id rather have an M9 and Mono than an M10. Why is this you ask? Well…

I think the sweet spot of megapixels is right where it is with the M9. Pumping them up to 24-36 makes the files huge, slow to work with and for the most part, unnecessary to photographers and only important to pixel peepers. I think the ISO improvement will be welcome and that alone will be the big upgrade in my eyes but an M10 with an EVF wart and not a built in hybrid system is sort of tacky if this is the case, unless Leica somehow incorporates and EVF into the design where it will not stick out like it does on the X2. The M10 will be costly and hard to get for a while I am sure but I am guessing this will also bring up used prices on the M9 as many will see  the M9 as the “classic” Leica digital M.

Then again..the more I think about it…an  10 with an EVF and live view will 100% eliminate focus issues, longer lenses can be used with ease and Leica will have less cameras flowing into the factory for calibration. Hmmmmmmmmm.

In any case..here are my guesses as to what an M10 will be like, and mostly all of this has already been on the “rumor” sites. Keep in mind these are only my guesses from what I have seen reported and my gut feelings (with my crystal ball thrown in as well)

  • CMOS Sensor with Live View – I have heard from about 11 people who say this is 100% a CMOS sensor with Live View. EVen Stefan Daniel has stated this to be fact. 
  • External EVF and NOT a hybrid system – I was hoping for a hybrid styled viewfinder. RF and EVF combined but from reports flowing in this doesn’t seem to be the case.
  • 24-36 MP – I think Leica is going to go for higher MP count as it always sounds impressive…
  • ISO up to 10,000 at least, maybe much higher but usable 3200 and 6400. – Supposedly the ISO will be crazy better than the M9, which isn’t hard to do.
  • HD Video – On an M??? It can’t be!!! I think YES it can as do many others who have been e-mailing me tidbits. Dr. Kaufman has already stated the next M will have video recording capability. 
  • Slight design change to the body – It has to fit an EVF..and it may be a teeny bit taller. Just my guess.
  • $9,000 – $10,000 US dollars – YIKES! Yea, I think it will come in at a high cost and I expect if there is an external EVF it will come in at a lofty price as well.

With the intro of the new Leica 50 Summicron APO and the price of admission just for that lens being over $7000 I can see that the days of guys like me owning a current Leica M system are just about over. I know many will be in the same boat as me and stick with an M9 and invest in glass, which is what it is all about anyway. Hell, after shooting and testing the Nikon D4 (which may have some focus issues) I still prefer the M9 in every way so to me, as I have said 2-3 years ago, the M9 is a lifetime digital camera. As long as it holds up that will be my choice (well, the monochrom is also on pre-order, lol).

The Monochrome and new 50 APO Summicron (courtesy of Francois Roosens who also sent the top image)

Unless the M10 really blows me away in every respect I can’t imagine owning one and shelling out that kind of money for one but I am sure if I had the cash I would regardless. The M9 has brought me more joy, passion and fun in photography than any camera since my Leica MP. That is what makes it all worth it.

I embedded a poll below…will you be buying an M10 if the specs above pan out to be fact?

 

Mar 082012
 

 

POLL: Who will buy the new iPad?

So as all of you already know, well, at least most of you, the new iPad is being released next Friday with a 3.1 million pixel Retina “better than HD” display, faster processor, new 5MP camera with image stabilization as well as 4G LTE. For us photographers this is a pretty cool upgrade. Between the new display and processor it seems we will have a pretty powerful tablet to work on when we travel. Many of us have been happy with our iPad 2’s, but the question for today is, will YOU upgrade to the NEW iPad? Being a HUGE Apple geek, I’m thinking about it and am leaning to YES but how about you? My Mom already called dibs on my iPad 2 on my Facebook wall if I upgrade, lol.

Mar 012012
 

Hot on the heels of the Nikon D800, The Canon 5D Mark III will hit tomorrow for $3499

IT HAS OFFICIALLY BEEN ANNOUNCED AND CAN BE PRE-ORDERED AT B&H PHOTO NOW!

So tomorrow, March 2nd we will all be hearing about the new Canon 5D MKIII camera and we now have yet ANOTHER new camera shipping soon. WOW. I mean, all of this camera madness! I feel overwhelmed :)The Canon 5D MKIII will of course be pretty damn special as the Mark I and Mark II were superb. I am assuming that Nikon users will be sticking with the D800 and the Canon users will be going with the 5D MkIII. The question is, will there be anyone switching systems? We now have the specs of the 5DIII so which would you prefer? This or the new Nikon D800? The D800 comes in at $500 less than the 5DIII.

I placed a poll here so you can let everyone know what camera would be your preference IF you were to buy a DSLR and were starting from scratch…if you were not invested in any system whatsoever. Which camera would YOU go for?

The Canon 5D Mark III Features and Specs

22.3 Megapixel Full Frame CMOS sensor

DiG!C 5+ Image Processor

ISO 100-25600 (expandable to L:50 H1:51200, H2: 102400

Full HD Movie (ISO 100-12800 (H:25600)

61-point high-density reticular AF (up to 41 crosstype points)

6.0 fps for high continuous shooting

Intelligent viewfinder with approx. 100% coverage

3.2-type, approx.1.04m dot (3:2 wide) Clear View LCD II

iFCL metering with 63-zone dual-layer sensor

Shutter durability of 150,000 cycles

Silent & low vibration modes

Dual card slots (CF & SD)

High Dynamic Range (HDR) Mode

Multiple Exposures

Comparative Playback function

Improved durability & water and dust resistance

Available Colours – Black

Megapixels – 22MP

Sensor Size – 36 x 24mm

ISO/Sensitivity – 100 – 25600

Autofocus Points – 61 points

Lens Mount – Canon

LCD Size – 3.2″

Liveview – Yes

Viewfinder – Optical TTL

Min Shutter Speed – 30 sec

Max Shutter Speed – 1/8000 sec

Continuous Shooting Speed – 6 fps

Self Timer – 10 sec, 2 sec

Metering – Centre-weighted, Spot, Evaluative, Partial

Video Resolution – Full HD 1080

Memory Type – Compact Flash

Connectivity – USB 2, HDMI, Mic Input, Wireless (optional)

Battery – LP-E6

Battery Type – Lithium-ion

Charger – Includes Li-Ion Charger

File Formats – AVI, RAW, H.264, MOV, MPEG-4

Dimensions – 152 x 116 x 76mm

Box Contents – Battery Pack LP-E6 .. Battery Charger LC-E6 .. AV Cable AVC-DC400ST .. Interface Cable IFC-200U .. Eyecup Eg .. Wide Strap EWEOS5DMKIII .. CR1616 Lithium Battery+

Feb 262012
 

Did you pre-order one of the new cameras? If so, which one?

Jan 172012
 

What would you pay for a Fuji X-Pro 1 AND 35 1.4 Kit Lens?

Lots of speculation over what the price of the new Fuji X-Pro 1 will be. When Amazon put up the camera and lenses for pre-order they listed the body only at $1699 and sold out their pre-orders in about an hour. Lenses came in at around $600. But since then we have heard Fuji may sell the body and 35 1.4 kit lens at $1600, not the body only. It seems no one really knows what the real price is going to be of this beautiful camera.

Today mirrorlessrumors announced that the camera and kit lens will be coming in at 1590.00 euros, and some are even saying that will be the body only price. If true, that is around $2000 US. The question is, would you pay $2000 us for a Fuji X-Pro 1 and 35 1.4 kit lens? I would, and in fact did place my pre-orders at Amazon for the body and all three lenses, which totaled around $3300. But $2000 for a body only would be pushing it if that turns out to be the case.

For those who have not yet seen it, you can also see Vlad Dodans hands on preview HERE of the X-Pro 1.

The question is, what are you willing to pay for a Fuji X-Pro 1 body and one lens?

 

Jan 152012
 

Fun Poll: What camera did I use to shoot this portrait?

Hello and happy Sunday! Just for fun I decided to throw up this quick poll and since I usually do not post anything on Sundays I figured why not?. I just shot a portrait of my Nephew about 15 minutes ago. This was shot in my living room with lighting that is super dirt cheap. I currently have three cameras in my possession. The Leica M9 and a 50, the Nikon J1 and V1 with the zooms and the Olympus E-P3 with the 25 1.4 and 45 1.8. Which camera do you think took the shot below? This is just for fun as polls always seem to get everyone involved! You can click the image for a slightly larger version.

UPDATE – It’s only been a few hours but figured I would update this before heading to bed. Quite a few guesses in the poll and in the comments. The answer was fairly easy to get because as someone pointed out..almost any camera can do great with decent lighting. Which proves my point that just about any camera in the mirrorless segment today will give great results. 90% of the cameras in this segment are very slow or fail to AF in low light. Cameras like the NEX-5n can do very good when the lights get low  but getting it to AF is another story. The image above, and the ones below were shot with the…Nikon J1. Not the best sensor but plenty good enough AND it’s AF is a dream.

So most of you got it correct. I have to send it back tomorrow so I took it out today and shot with while out shopping with my Son and Nephew.

The image above and the one directly below was shot with a great little light setup I received from B&H Photo. It’s basically a stand, light and umbrella. It throws some soft light but I think I will pick up a 2nd one and keep them in my office for portraits. This is the setup I used, and it rocks for what it is. I am a fan of lighting vs strobes because what you see is what you get. When I shot the image above I used Matrix metering but during the RAW conversion converted to B&W and deepened the blacks. It was shot with the Nikon 10-30 at 30mm f/5.6 at ISO 250 and 1/60th.

Below is another I shot with the same settings but I left it in color. This again with the J1 and 10-30 Zoom. 

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In case you missed it, the point I was making with this post is that just about ANY camera today will give you great results, and backs up my statement that even a J1 or V1 is good enough for 90% of our every day uses. The ones who still bash the J/V1 and attack it no matter what I say….open your mind. The 1 system is not perfect and Micro 4/3 outshines it in many areas, but the 1 system also outshines M4/3 in many areas so the best thing to do is decide what you desire the most in your photo equipment. It is after all YOU that is behind the camera and making the shot. What you want is a tool that gets out of the way the most and delivers quality results, which any mirrorless will do with ease today (give quality results).

A few others from today with the J1..click them for larger and better versions otherwise you will not be seeing them correctly.

ISO 800 – at the mall through a window – you can see some grain here but it is not offensive. Still, you will not get crystal clean ISO 800 here. 

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ISO 400 – 10-30 at f/4.5 – 1/30s

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10-30 zoom at 10mm – ISO 800 – f/3.5 – 1/30s

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10-30 zoom – ISO 200 – f/3.5 – 1/100s

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and one at ISO 400 with crop – same results as from the V1 due to the cameras sharing the same sensor/processing. Click image for 100% crop

So there you go. The Nikon J1 is a good camera though I prefer the V1 and I really hope NIkon follows through with some fast primes like they mentioned. If they do this, and I feel they must, the J1 and V1 will get even better because we will then be able to play with Depth of Field a little. As it is now they are speed demons with some grain at higher ISO but they still keep the color when the ISO goes up.

BTW, who heard about the new Olympus OM-D that was hitting the internet in the last 24 hours? Supposedly in February we will see “pro” Olympus – an OM digital. February should be an exciting month with the Fuji and supposedly the new Olympus. It never ends! As always, thanks foe reading and for participating in the poll!

Dec 202011
 

With all of the camera releases of 2011 what was your favorite one of the bunch? Listed below are some of the cameras that appeared in 2011, mostly ones I covered or talked about. If you do not see your favorite on the list below you can add it in. I know my favorite, what was yours?

Aug 232011
 

Will you buy the upcoming Fuji X50?

Well, it appears to be coming soon…the Fuji X50. The pint sized baby of the X100. Looks like the X100, feels like the X100, works like the X100, has the same build as the X100 but it is half the size of the X100, with a small point and shoot sensor. Me, I will pass as I am no longer buying any small sensor cameras but I have to admit, this will look pretty cool with a wrist strap :) I just do not think the success will be there for the smaller version. The X100 is almost the camera so many of us have been begging for (just needs a few tweaks and enhancements to make it perfect). I don’t see a small sensor zoom version to be anything too exciting. BUT what about you?

Here are the specs of the X50:

12 MP 2/3-inch EXR CMOS – SMALL sensor so this camera will be competition for something like the Leica D-Lux 5
4x f/2 manual zoom lens (Fujinon) – Zoom lens…f/2 at wide end
Optical view finder – NOT hybrid
1080p HD movie recording
RAW+JPEG
Same lovely X100 build quality
Just under $600 at $599

So the question is..WILL YOU be buying a Fuji X50? Participate in the poll below!

Aug 012011
 

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Just spoke with SLR Magic/Noktor and was told that the new lens they are releasing soon is indeed a Leica M mount 0.95 50mm lens. This is an all new lens by Noktor and is made for the full frame Leica M9 as well as Leica M film cameras. The previous Noktor lens that was released for Micro 4/3 and the Sony E-Mount is a smaller lens and would not work for a full frame sensor.

This will be 6-bit coded as well. Yep, a new 50m f/0.95 lens for the M mount that will be MUCH less expensive than the Noctilux. The lens is coming soon but Noktor is still doing some design enhancements and they asked me to post a poll so you guys can help!

NOKTOR NEEDS YOUR HELP!

As you can see from the image of the prototype, the focusing ring does not appear to give much grip. I mentioned to them my preference but they had the idea of me putting up the poll to ask you for your preference.

They asked me which type of focusing ring Leica users would prefer. Scalloped, Round Barrel, or Focus Tab? Also, would you prefer a green ring on the front of the lens or a black ring? Vote in the poll below so Noktor can finish the design and get this lens released!

May 232011
 

UPDATE: The TOP image was from the Leica X1. Bottom X100. Full comparison can be found HERE.

Happy Monday!

Im heading out to Sedona and Oak Creek Canyon AZ this morning to shoot the Leica X1 and Fuji X100 side by side to not only see the image quality differences, but to also see which one I prefer shooting with all day. I have a soft spot for the Leica X1 but also am really digging the X100 so I wanted to see the real deal between the two as so many have been talking about the 3D depth of the X1 and the flatness of the X100.

When I reviewed the X100 I did not have an X1 on hand, and now I do so this is going to be fun :)

I posted a sample and poll on Saturday of my son asking what camera you guys though took each photo, and the voting is pretty close! I will reveal which camera took which image either later on tonight or tomorrow morning with my full X1 and X100 side by side report.

Until then, here is one more comparison!

FULL SIZE OUT OF CAMERA IMAGES!!!

YOU MUST CLICK ON THESE TO SEE THE FULL SIZE IMAGES!

These were shot RAW, f/8, and exported from ACR without ANY change of settings or PP.

One of these came from the Leica X1 and one from the X100.

When you click on them they will open as one but in FULL size.

Instead of asking which one you think came from which camera, this time vote for the one you like best. It’s a crap image but was just taken to test detail, color and rendering at f/8 with each camera. I will have some better images later tonight or in the morning from each camera, along with my full comparison.

With that said, I think sometimes it is pointless to over-analyze things such as this. Obviously, both the X1 and X100 are fantastic cameras capable of high image quality and each one can inspire confidence and deliver the results. Which one you prefer is all up to what you want to use it for. For example, if you wanted a viewfinder and close up capabilities, the X10o would be a better choice. If you wanted that “Leica Look” that some of you see, and some do not, then the X1 is the only choice.

BRW, both cameras are easy to use and have similar AF speed (using the X1’s V2 firmware).

 

 

Jan 132011
 

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POLL!

OK, quick poll. SLR Magic is thinking about releasing a Leica M mount 90 f/2 lens in the $250 range. They have made a prototype and are wondering if it is something they should release. I’m just not sure how popular the 90mm focal length is these days. So the question is…if there was a 90mm f/2 Leica M mount lens available with decent build and a little bit smaller than the 90 Summicron, AND it had very good quality…would you buy one for $250 or less?

The company is SLR Magic, the same guys that brought us the Toy lens for micro 4/3 and the 35 1.7 for NEX mount. The 90 would be an all new lens, not a toy lens. Here is the sample I was sent from their prototype which they say is 70% of the final quality.

So, what do you think?

Feb 062010
 

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