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Sep 212016
 

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Best announcement of Photokina 2016? For me it was the…

Well, Photokina is here and while I was supposed to be there from this past Sunday through tomorrow, I ended up staying back due to a truly “once in a lifetime” opportunity that came knocking on my door, one I could not refuse. For eight years I covered only the best of Photokina on these pages, all without ever going to Germany for the event. Sure, it would have been awesome to be there, but I was not in the cards this time around. But even though I was not there, I still had all of the emails with releases and info sent to my inbox like mad. From things like bags, to straps, to gimbals and smaller items to the big guns like Sony, Olympus, Leica, etc.

Truth be told? This year I have not seen many releases that really got my blood pumping or excitement flowing through my veins. There was a little bit of that though with Olympus, Fuji and Sony or course but the “big one” never surfaced (New Leica M). Before I get to the one thing that DID excite me, let’s go over some other releases at this years huge Photo event and my first response thoughts on them…

LEICA

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I hate to say it but have to say it…Leica dropped the ball this year. All we got was a new SL lens roadmap, and a new instant camera as well as an M 240 Rehash with a special titanium edition and crazy price tag. I LOVE LEICA but even so, no new M on the 10 year anniversary of the digital M (M8)? Could have/WOULD HAVE been the sleeper hit of Photokina! I had high hopes for Leica this year, and those hopes were squashed… though the new 50 Summilux for the SL looks amazing, and I will review it as soon as I can get one. So no new M yet. :(


SONY

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Sony came out swinging with the crazy insane versatile A99 MKII. Many are saying this A99 MKII is what the Canon 5D MKIV wanted to be and what it should have been. That is quite the statement.

This warm welcome for the A99 MKII is huge and great news for Sony who have been doing amazing things with digital imaging. Without Sony in this race for the last several years, digital imaging would be a tad boring in 2016. But me, I was hoping for the long rumored A9 Pro. That was a no show. Even so, Sony today is much more exciting than Nikon and Canon (to me). I still use my A7RII almost daily. It’s been a workhorse and used for over 100k pics and countless hours of video. Never an issue. 


FUJI

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Fuji gave us the new Medium format monster in the GX50s. Looks like a standard Fuji, monster sized with an all new sensor and lens lineup for this medium format camera. An external optional EVF (no built in EVF here) and rumored to come in at under $10k with a lens, the EVF and the body. To me, it looks good and I am excited to see it in action and use it some, but at the $9k price point the new Hasselblad that was announced months ago, (to me), looks more enticing. 

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CANON

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Canon gave us the M5, the 5th version of the slow selling M series. They have come a long long way since the original M1 and the new M5 looks good, BUT AT THE SAME TIME, seems like more of the same old same old. They are playing catch up with the likes of Sony, Fuji and Olympus right now. At this rate, they may have something to surpass those other brands by 2020 ;) 


OLYMPUS STEALS THE SHOW!

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Olympus, to me, stole the show. With the live video YouTube announcement, the two new PRO lenses including the amazing looking 25 f/1.2 (see report on it here) to the new E-M1 MKII, Olympus has juiced me up with excitement. I can not wait to test this new camera and the new lenses. I suspect I will love it. I still love the MKI so man…I can only imagine. 

So to me, Olympus stole the show at Photokina this year. They also announced the new PEN camera which I did not even cover yet. THE E-PL8, which looks pretty snazzy. So Olympus is still rocking and rocking quite hard!

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While I am not sure what happened with Leica’s M, or Sony’s long rumored A9 I do like what I see above from Sony, Fuji and Olympus. The three companies I always say are “pushing the envelope” more than anyone else in the camera manufacturer world. They just proved that point here yet again. Nikon showed off some Action Cam GoPro clones, but other than that? Not much from the big N.

What I feel is still to come, to be announced later? Keep in mind, I have no inside info (if I did I could not even speculate) so this is all from my GUT. A prediction if you will. 

  1. A new Leica M is being worked on and developed and has been for 2+ years. I predict it will be slimmer, have some sort of hybrid RF/EVF and have a new 30MP-ish sensor with more of the rendering style of the Q and SL. It will have dual SD slots, long battery life, built in GPS, WiFi and will be quick and  responsive. It will have a new modernized look while retaining the classic and desirable look of the M.
  2. I feel a Sony A9 “pro” will arrive soon as well. Something like a PRO LEVEL A7 with dual slots, a more square body, hefty, a glorious EVF (Leica SL like) and great speed and battery life with an all new sensor. Also, MAYBE a Medium Format body of their own to compete with the Fuji and Hasselblad. They do make amazing MF sensors ;)

I expected these two things above at Photokina. Maybe they will never show up, or maybe they will, just at a later date. Sometimes when cameras are not ready to show, they do not show them. It has happened before so all we can do is wait and see.

Steve

Feb 022014
 

New Leica T (Type 701) Camera Soon? First Images?

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Rumors are afloat once again and this time it is about the new Leica T type (which was rumored a few months back). It was hinted then that it may be an APS-C mirrorless camera with lenses made with a partner (for the most part) and some high quality primes to be made in Germany. When I 1st saw these rumored images (that were supposedly taken from the instruction manual of the camera which is said to be hitting in April) I hoped they were not real. Then I thought..no way..fakes. Then after seeing more, including a page from the manual..I thought..maybe. But who knows.

To me it looks like a Sony NEX from 3 years ago. 

So is it real? Is this the new Leica mirrorless that will be made in Germany but come in at a more affordable price? They do need to be making something in that shiny new factory so we shall soon see. But personally, I hope these are fakes. ;) 

If this is the new T type, what are YOUR thoughts? The image below has what appears to be a 23mm Summicron T, which would make it a 35mm in APS-C land. This would be the 1st mirrorless interchangeable lens camera made by Leica in Germany besides the M.

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Jan 202014
 

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Fuji..Finally..Nails It. The X-T1 seems to be “the” Fuji Body to wait for..

Just as I said Sony grew some balls when they designed and released the (now older) NEX-7, it appears Fuji finally did what I have been waiting for them to do. Yes, it appears Fuji finally ditched the hollow and cheaper feeling bodies and decided to design and create and release a truly solid and professional X body. One of the reasons I was so hard inn Fuji since the X-Pro 1 is because I KNEW that they could do better..much better. Sure, they had the color and IQ but everything else was sub par, especially in their “flagship” the X-Pro 1.

I predicted two years ago that Fuji would some day release a truly great X body worthy of their great lenses. The time is just about here :) 

It appears that this X-T1 will also be a SOLID, WEATHER SEALED and MUCH FASTER body with external controls ala Nikon Df and Olympus E-M1. (THIS is a GOOD thing).

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The body is very Olympus E-M1 and A7 like in design. You have the grip and the EVF hump. As for the EVF it should be much larger and nicer than previous EVF’s.

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The EVF will be center mounted with all controls easily accessible. From these leaked images (courtesy of mirrrorless rumors) it appears that yes, Fuji did get it right. The rumored price is said to be $1700 US for the Body only. Add the superb 23 1.4 and you have a $2600 combo, about the same price as a full frame Sony A7 and Zeiss 35 2.8. It appears the competition and new tech just never ever stops!

I can feel it in my bones..this is the Fuji that will be “the one” many have been waiting for from Fuji. Will it be the “no compromise” body? Who knows but the X-E2 was and is a step in the right direction but I am really looking forward to this new one. Let us see what awaits on the 28th!

Oct 282013
 

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Above: The new Nikon DF. Looks quite large to me so I expect a D800 reshaped into a square with no bells and whistles and solid manual controls. 

So Nikon is creating all kinds of hype with their new “pure photography” campaign and it is going to be a big one my friends. It seems Nikon has been busy creating a “Pure” camera..for those of us who want just that. A camera without all of the bells and whistles and gimmicks. No video, no panorama, no-nonsense. In fact, a very old school Nikon F vibe in a square solidly made body. At least that is what early rumors and reports have been saying.

A camera made for photographers. Pure. 

When I first heard of the Nikon DF a coupe of weeks ago I was excited. Another Full Frame camera built just like the old Nikon F bodies? I LOVED the look and feel and design of those bodies and having a simple full frame digital camera in 2013 that takes me back to those retro times would be incredible.

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But…my dreams were sort of squashed some when I realized what it most likely is.

Now, I know this will be a killer IQ camera and the DSLR crowd will cling to it because it appears that it will basically be a stripped down reshaped DSLR without any gimmick modes or video. It will not take small Nikon Rangefinder lenses and it will not be a rangefinder. The new DF is basically a full frame DSLR reshaped into a square body, but is still a DSLR that uses Nikon DSLR lenses.

I was really hoping for a 2013 digital Nikon S2 sort of camera.  Then I would be all kinds of excited. But in many ways I still am because of what this camera stands for.

The old beautiful Nikon S2 Rangefinder was small and light and a special camera

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Reports are saying it will have a mirror and normal viewfinder and from the looks of it, it will be as large and heavy as a DSLR, maybe thinner due to shape and lack of a large grip. But it will take standard modern-day Nikon DSLR lenses which means that this will be a larger than expected camera. Plop on a 24-70 and you might as well shoot a D800.

Even so, the design always gets me and if this thing is as cool looking as I think it will be then I will WANT one but I will not BUY one just due to the fact that I will never go back to large DSLR lenses! I have been free of that for four years and when I gave it a go a few weeks ago with the Canon 6D I knew..never again, not for me! The camera was superb in IQ though. I suppose if you wanted to shoot the Nikon and just a 50, you could buy the camera and the affordable 50 1.4 and be done with it.

I am super excited that Nikon will have another full frame alternative to the D800 and D4 monstrosities and the D600 series which are still big and bubbly. The DF will take gorgeous quality photos without question and of course I will give it a full and long detailed real world review :) I just hope it is up to the build and feel standard of the old Nikon film bodies. If it is, then I may have to give in.

I predict the DF will outsell the D800 and will be in high demand with a wait list just due to the fact that many Nikon users and lens owners will be super excited to own a camera such as the “DF”. If it is solid and well made, has fast AF and sublime IQ, I expect it will do VERY well. I also like what it is all about..simple and pure photography.

As for killing a Leica? Not really because again, it is basically a DSLR in a new shape using the same old DSLR lenses. I always shot Leica not only for the image quality and RF experience but the smaller size AND tiny amazing lenses. I have no doubt Nikon will beat the M 240 for overall IQ but for size no. Mojo? Maybe :) It is going to be an exciting rest of the year!

Steve

 

 

Oct 142013
 

Sony Full Frame A7 and A7R leaked before launch?

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Well well, it appears that the rumored Sony full frame E mount mirrorless has been leaked before launch (but of course nothing is 100% until a camera is officially announced, and as of right now, it has not been). I have had a flood of emails asking me about my  thoughts and all I can say is..stay tuned. If this leak is real you will read all about it here over the next few days..who knows..maybe even a hands on..if it is real of course. :)

But this has spread all over the internet like a wildfire out of control. Let us take a look at the rumored specs:

These were posted on SonyAlphaRumors:

A7-A7r Specs reminder: In case you are confused by the many rumors I posted lately here are the SR5 info on the cameras:
– A7 has 24 Megapixel sensor with Phase detecion AF
– A7r has 36 Megapixel with no on sensor Phase detection and no Anti Aliasing filter for maximum sharpness
– A7 body costs $1698 and $1998 with 28-70mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS lens. A7r costs $2198 body only.
– Both cameras have a fixed OLED EVF with 2,4 million dot resolution. It’s the same used by the Olympus E-M1
– AF speed is faster than the RX series.
– Takes SD cards and uses the NEX battery
– A7/A7r Body is weather sealed
– 1/8000 shutter speed
– titlable LCD screen
– focus peaking
– Built-in Wifi and NFC
– Playmemories Camera Apps
– The menu interface is the same as the RX series (and not the one used by NEX cameras).
– optional vertical grip
– New LAEA Full Frame A to E-mount adapter
– Current NEX APS-C lenses will work in crop mode or Full Frame mode (with heavy vignetting or dark corners)– A7 has 24 Megapixel sensor with Phase detection AF

 

So, if these specs are the real deal of course then this camera will be a HUGE seller and cause quite the stir. All I can say is KEEP an eye out here on stevehuffphoto.com every day ;) Really.

You can also check out the dedicated facebook page I created for these new cameras so when they become a reality we can all discuss and share to our hearts content. 

You can check that out HERE.

Sep 122013
 

ffnex

Sony Full Frame Coming next month in October?

All signs point to a YES, that Sony is going to announce the new Sony full frame interchangeable lens NEX or RX camera in October. Sony Alpha Rumors has been posting about it for a long time now and it appears that this is indeed going to happen. If so, I feel that this new Sony is going to be pretty special. I have ZERO inside info but I do know that Sony means business and I believe they want to create a masterpiece. A statement piece. A camera that will blow our socks off with amazing full frame performance in a small mirrorless design and send a message to other camera makers. I do not want to get my hopes up but I expect good things if this is indeed true.

Imagine a small interchangeable lens Sony with the latest full frame sensor tech being able to mount Sony E-Mount glass, New Full Frame Ziess E-Mount glass and even Leica M lenses (if it can not do M glass then this will be a fail). My guess is that this will have just about everything we have been wanting, and I am going to also guess that it will have an amazing built in EVF, be speedy, have solid and attractive design and build and give us amazing low light performance. Sony did not mess around with the amazing RX1 and RX1R so I do not expect them to do so with a full frame camera if it is indeed true that one is coming.

If the latest rumors are true, October is going to be one exciting time. BUT again, as we all know, these are currently RUMORS and nothing has even been hinted at by Sony. If Sony can pull of a full frame masterpiece I believe it will not come cheap. Of course there will be those moaning about the cost (there always is) but if it is quality and does everything I hope it does, it will be an amazing game changer.

I am excited to see what is ahead and if all of this comes out as being fact you can bet that I will probably do the coolest and biggest real world review ever seen on this site (currently that spot is taken by the Leica M 240 review). With the new iPhone 5S just announced and many saying that is all the camera they will ever need, this rumored Sony may be all the camera I ever need. SO bring it on Sony!

Let us wait for October to see if this is the real deal. Stay tuned my friends.

For the past year Sony has been on a Major roll with all kinds of cool things from their latest video cameras to the unique and odd QX series to their music video camera (which I pre-ordered for my own personal use). Sony is rocking it big time and it is obvious they want to be king of the mirrorless world. if they pull of this full frame thing, that just might happen.

What are YOU hoping to see from Sony in the near future? What would YOUR dream mirrorless camera be?

Jul 312013
 

sony

So, did you see the rumors flying around internet land about the new Sony full frame interchangeable lens camera? Yep, speculation has been building for a year and I feel it..it is soon going to burst wide open and what will come of it will be pretty damn special. Well, at least I hope so.

So, what are the rumors saying? 

  • This will be a full frame Sony camera, a NEX system camera. 
  • Larger than a NEX-7 but still the smallest full frame IC camera in the world
  • Built in EVF
  • Latest tech sensor which means INSANE quality in all situations
  • 5 Axis IS from Olympus will be on the sensor (Leica lenses with that 5-AXis, WOW)
  • Price for body? $2800. Lenses? $1200-$1500
  • E-Mount APS-C lenses will work in a crop mode
  • At least TWO new fast Zeiss primes at launch
  • August 2013 Announcement (which ties in with Sonys announcements last year)

If the above is true, then this will be the most incredible camera release EVER. Well, in my opinion anyway, and for what I like. The above to me sounds like my dream camera, one I have been dreaming about for years. A full frame Sony NEX, with the latest FF sensor tech and 5-Axis IS? Mounting a 50 Lux to this guy via an adapter would be AMAZING. Video..amazing!

Again, I have to state “IF THIS IS TRUE”. Sony Alpha Rumors has a pretty good reputation for these things and to me, most of this sounds about right, or what I would expect from Sony. But who knows, maybe it doesn’t even exist :) I wish I knew but I know NOTHING. I am close with Sony but they tell me NOTHING. NADA. Even if they did, it would be top-secret anyway and I would have my toes cut off for even mentioning anything, lol.

So if the above specs are true, will you be buying one? I know I would, in a nanosecond. BTW, the above image is NOT a new camera, it came from SAR.

Jul 252013
 

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According to 4/3 Rumors, the new Panasonic GX7 is hitting in August and if this is correct, it is a beauty! This would also mean that Panasonic is finally playing catch up to Olympus who has been dominating the Micro 4/3 body sales with their OM-D and PEN line. The reported and rumored GX7 looks mighty impressive.

They are reporting the following  specs but check out that built-in tilting EVF! The body looks Fuji-ish with the silver and black and of course the source is from a rumor site but usually they are pretty spot on over there at 4/3 rumors. It is also rumored to be bundled with either a kit zoom or the new 20mm 1.7 II. This camera and a 20mm 1.7 II would be all anyone would need in the Micro 4/3 world and with the video quality of the GH3 and 1/8000s shutter speed all many of you will want :)

Specs as reported at 43rumors.com

It has a Magnesium body and comes in full black or black-silver.

– It has an on sensor stabilization (first ever for Pana).

– Same video quality as the GH3

– Shutter speed up to 1/8000

– 5fps (4fps with continuous A)

– it can focus also in very dark conditions

– Tiltable 2,76 Million Dot EVF

– Tiltable 3 inch LCD (1,04 Million dots)

– Integrated WiFi and NFC

– Focus peaking

– Stereo Mic

– Shipment in September

– Body only price 1.000 Euro

– There will be two kit version. One with 14-42 and one with 20mm lens.

So has Panaosnic FINALLY listened to the demands? Is Panasonic the one who will deliver THE definitive Micro 4/3 body? It is not going  to have that incredible Olympus 5-Axis IS but could have on sensor IS. Looks good and I guess we will find out soon enough on the reality of it as well as the pricing.

What do you think of this new GX7 if it is indeed the real deal?

Jun 072013
 

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First images posted from the mystery Leica Mini (X-Vario)

ATTN: This camera has not been officially announced yet so while we have all of these rumors and teasers, what we have been told still may not be fact but it appears it just may indeed be. So my thoughts are based on what I was told by a few to be the real deal Leica Mini M, the Vario X. If it ends up being different than this, of course my opinions will change. 

Hello to all and a happy Friday to everyone! I am hard at work this morning putting together something on the new Ricoh GR which I have been shooting with but with all of this internet chatter and excitement about the new Leica announcement on the 11th – along with what seems to be disappointment in the Leica user world on the leaked specs, Leica has seemingly asked Jono Slack to release some of his photos from the new camera. You can see them HERE. 

I love Jono. He has been around for years shooting not only Leica, but all kinds of cameras from the old Kodak DSLR’s to the Olympus DSLR’s to the Micro 4/3 series as well as Sony. He shoots with what works for him but at the same time, he loves his Leica’s just as I do. He always gets to test the new cameras and give input so he knows what the real deal is with the new Leica “Mini M” and today has posted samples from his use of it. With all of the respect I have for Jono as a person, a photographer and just being an overall amazingly pleasant person to be around I have to say that this Leica he is using for the photos he posted looks to be from a slow zoom lens :) The colors, the sharpness and the overall vibe look more like what comes out of the V-Lux small sensor series.

With that said, I am not talking about his skills, I am talking about the technical output of the files.

The latest official photo of the new camera peeking out of its box. Looks like the lens is INSIDE the body and will pop out when powered on. That or it is one hell of a small pancake lens. 

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You can tell the lens was zoomed in for any shots showing Bokeh. This is how it works with a slow lens, you have to zoom in to a longer focal length to separate the background from your subject. So my guess now, as of today, is that the new camera is indeed a fixed slow zoom. I am not only saying this from the sample photos but due to the fact that over the past two-day I have had 4 e-mails come in from “anonymous insiders” who all told me the same thing. This is a fixed zoom camera, same X2 sensor and a slow f/3.5 starting aperture zoom. Either it is fact or four of you out there are trying  to play a trick.

I never believe email rumors if I do not know the source so take it with a grain of salt, but Jono’s photos seem to show a slow fixed zoom is responsible for those images he has shown. Yesterday I spoke my mind about this release and if this is indeed the camera we all think it is (slow fixed zoom X2) then it is overpriced by $1500 if it comes in at $3000. I see more value in the X2 personally. It may sell well in Asia, but here in the USA it will be a slower seller than the X2, and that is pretty slow. All my opinions of course after seeing the buying habits of tens of thousands of people over the past 5 years.

If someone wants a slow zoom setup with amazing output, we have that already and with better specs than an X2 sensor..it is called a Fuji X-E1, has an EVF and a great Zoom 18-55. For less than $1500. If you want to spend $3000 you would be a fool to buy this Leica zoom over a Sony RX1, which is absolutely STELLAR in its use and output. The lens alone is worth the $3k.

So what can I say, if this Leica is for real, and is what we all are hearing it is then it appears that Sony is the new Leica and Leica is lost in their own bubble.

They did get the M 240 right though and man oh man is it FANTASTIC. Using Adobe Camera Raw for my processing (not LR) I am getting great results with color now. The M is truly my own Dream Camera and now using it with the Canon Dream Lens, I feel like I am always in a dream! hahaha. So Leica M 240 HIGHLY recommended. Leica Vario X with a slow f/3.5 lens…NOT recommended if coming in at anything more than $1500.

The reason I am being so harsh on this one is because THIS IS LEICA. We need to hold them to a higher standard. Is that not why we pay the extra money for their products? Releasing re-hashed cameras with sub-par specs is not the way for a company like Leica to go. If Nikon release this I would be all over it. Why? Because this looks more like an Nikon kind of camera spec wise, and would come it at around $1000, not $3000. But for Leica to release a camera such as this rumored Vario-X..nah, bad call. Leica is known for their photographic tools. Cameras, Lenses created from the souls and heart of photographers for Photographers. This should have been a REAL ‘Mini M”, then they could have made a HUGE statement.

By the time they do release a real Mini M, if ever,  Sony may just have a full frame RX with IC lenses and the ability to take M lenses using their gorgeous sensors at half the cost with equal or better performance. Then what? Leica can not be sustained on the niche rich clientele, they need normal folks to buy into their cameras, and we have been. But competition is out there and ready to steam them over and then the the tens of thousands of normal guys may shift to the competition to save money and get better performance. Leica will then be back where they were pre-M9.

But hey, I am just spouting off my thoughts as I always do. I love Leica but would never praise them when it is not warranted as they really need to be on their toes. Sony has some new bad ass announcements soon BTW…they are like a runaway train, madmen…listening to OUR wants and needs. Looking forward to what they have in store.

So again, to see those Leica Mini M samples over a Jono’s website, click HERE. I thank him for posting them. What do YOU think about all of this?

 

Jun 062013
 

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Leica X Vario Zoom – The new “Mini M” – I still say NO WAY!

Well it may appear that the rumors were mostly true about the new Leica Mini M, although everything we have seen to date has been a rumor with 100% fake photoshopped images of the new camera. Even the image above is a fake right down to the joke about the broken strap lug.

Many have said that the image above..well, “THIS IS THE REAL DEAL”! Others have said, “NO WAY, THEY ARE FAKE”! Today there are more stories going around saying the camera is indeed a APS-C with a fixed zoom attached and that the photo above is legit. The specs are floating around internet land and rumor sites already and here is the basic jist of what is being thrown around:

  • 16.5MP APS-C sensor
  • Leica Vario Elmar 1:3.5-6.4/18-46mm ASPH lens (28-70mm equivalent): 9 elements in 8 groups, 2 ASPH elements
  • ISO: 100-12,500
  • Max shutter speed: 1/2000s – 1/2000? Really?
  • 3″ TFT LCD with 921k dots
  • Full HD video
  • Built-in flash
  • Battery life: 360 exposures
  • Price: around 2,500 EUR (over $3k USA)
  • Made in Germany

By those specs, the new Leica seems to be just what we thought. An APS-C with a slow zoom attached. As I sit and scratch my head and hang that same head in disappointment (some Leica fan boy I am huh?) I wonder why Leica did not seize the chance to go for something REALLY outstanding..something the Leica fans wanted (which is a digital CL). Basically this is a souped up X2 with a slower lens, a zoom.  They also added video recording and higher ISO capability. I still am hoping for a surprise on the 11th like “it has interchangeable lenses”, but the rumors and the forums are stating this is not the case. I refuse to believe that for many reasons.

As always, nothing is final until June 11th so we shall wait and see. 

Maybe it will be different. Maybe it will have IC lenses. Maybe it will have a 1.3 crop sensor. But that appears unlikely. If what we see here is truly the camera being released on the 11th, no amount of viral teaser campaigning can save it.

I can see it sitting on shelves just as I see the X2 doing the same thing. The Leica X Vario as shown here is nothing more than an X2 with a slower zoom. Why Leica thinks it would be a hit at over $3k is beyond me. I’d be happier with an Olympus E-P5 and a 17, 45 and 75 lenses, all for less than one Vario X. I’d be MUCH happier with a Sony RX1, less than a Vario X and it is a full frame with a 35 f/2 lens.

That tells you something right there doesn’t it? 

As I sit and compare these “leaked” specs with the Sony RX1 I ask “who would buy this over an RX1, which is full frame, has an amazing Leica killer 35 f.2 Zeiss lens attached and amazing jaw dropping high ISO with gorgeous B&W performance to boot and comes in for LESS than the supposed price of the Vario X? The answer to that is NO ONE, ell, no one but the most die hard Leica fans who will buy anything just for the name. I shoot Leica not due to the name but due to the M lenses, the M body, the full frame sensor. There is nothing like it. Would I buy a Vario X as it is shown here? No way and not a chance. Maybe at $1600 but at $3000+, no way. The RX1 would be the way to go and this is why it makes no sense. 

Why would Leica release this at $3k+ when the stellar Sony RX1 and amazing full frame/Zeiss f/2 lens is $2700? They wouldn’t! But who knows..maybe they do really think anything with their name will sell and maybe, just maybe they do have the illusion that Leica is better than anything else no matter what camera model it is.

So see? It makes no sense! My final analysis is that THIS CAN NOT BE TRUE.

If it is, it will fail miserably. If it is not, then we may just have a surprise coming on the 11th and man, I hope so. In my opinion the only thing Leica has going for them now is the MM, the M 240 and the M-E as well as the S series. They need to revamp the X series and this is not the way to do it. Go to a 1.3 crop sensor, make it interchangeable lens with an M mount. Done deal, a “real” Mini M. You may lose some sales of the M 240 but you will gain MANY more sales of the smaller camera and many more lenses which means more customers will be happy. That would lead to a huge boost in sales. Now that makes sense.

It also can not be true because the official teaser image put out by Leica shows a much different lens on the front of the camera. This means that the above image is indeed a 100% a fake and while the specs could be the same (a pop out zoom) it will for sure be smaller than the image above. I smell a surprise coming…

Hmmm, if you take a look at the OFFICIAL teaser image by Leica you can clearly see the lens is not a long zoom lens as pictured above in the “fake”

therealminim

cropleicamin

Steve

See my Leica M 240 review here, my favorite Leica EVER. 

May 282013
 

Leica-X-zoom-lens

SAY IT ISNT SO!

The all new Leica “Mini M” has apparently been leaked and it seems to look like an X2 with a zoom lens attached…a slow zoom lens. Say it isn’t so Leica. Supposedly coming it an $3000 US this will be a camera more expensive than the X2 with a slower zoom lens attached.

NOTE: I just arrived to Disnelyand for a 3 day mini vacation with my Fiancée and saw the news once I arrived to my room. To say I am disappointed in this lackluster release is an understatement.

No EVF, 16MP APS-C sensor, Slow f/3.5 zoom lens, X2 (but slightly larger) body and $3000 US. Really? Can this be real? Maybe it is something to throw us off..to lower our expectations..no idea. Maybe that zoom lens is just that, a LENS. Maybe it is an IC camera and there will be new lenses for it? THAT would be much better than a fixed slow zoom camera. If this was an IC camera we could mount M glass on it. If it is a fixed lens, it is destined to be a failure.

In fact, I am going to go with that dream..that it is an interchangeable lens camera and the image is showing a new zoom lens MOUNTED. Hmmmm. HAS TO BE! Right? I also see the video button like the 240 has so this will have video…but…if it is a fixed lens I just do not see a reason to buy.

The X2 is a SLOW seller and has been sitting on dealer shelves since its release, and the X2 has a 2.8 lens coming it at $2000. Until this camera is officially released and announced by Leica I am having a hard time swallowing this one.

For $3000 there are many other cameras I would invest in so hopefully this is not correct news. If it is, I feel Leica made a blunder as only the true Leica die hards will plunk down $3k for a camera with these specs.

I guess we shall officially see in June what the real story is.

More to come as I find out news…

Steve

Aug 292012
 

New Leica compact system coming to Photokina? My crystal ball says MAYBE…

So I dusted off my crystal ball last week and in between writing for and maintaining this website 40-50 hours a week and doing some Paranormal Investigating with my son 20 hours a week I figured I would find time to dust off the old ball to see what Photokina will bring us from Leica….

Now, this is just a crystal ball prediction like I have done many times in the past so take it with a grain of salt :) Maybe I should say “for entertainment value only”

In any case, as I gazed into the ball I saw a Leica rangefinder…it was matte black and I soon realized this was the Monochrom which should be delivered to the USA within 3 weeks or so. I also saw the X2 but it was fading into the background. The X2 has been lackluster in the sales dept, especially when compared to the X1 which was a huge success so maybe the was why it was fading.

Remember the R lens solution? Well I thought I saw a small solid Leica like body fly by the crystal ball through a haze of M and R lenses…then a German man was jumping for it saying ME ME ME!! with $3500 in USA cold hard cash in his hands… So odd…

Maybe Leica will have a new German-made body at Photokina that will accept R and M lenses via adapters or maybe it will be something like a mini M..or a new versatile all in one. Not sure. I thought I saw a huge letter “C” fly by as well, which I took as APS-C. This would make so much sense..the digital CL we have been asking for but Leica usually never gives us what we ask for.

That is all I saw so it will be exciting to see if Leica surprises us with this new camera.

As for an M10…I saw a sad face like there have been difficulties with it..maybe it is not ready but I do not see an M10 being available until MID 2013 and maybe THIS will be the “R” solution. Imagine a CMOS – LIVEVIEW M that can take R glass as well. Hmmmmm. The M10…I wouldn’t expect a working demo unit to be unveiled in September but maybe can announcement about it.

I also saw a lens…was pretty damn large too..wide angle. But who knows what that meant :)

DISCLAIMER: I did not read ANY of this from a rumor site (I do not visit them) and no insider or friend told me this information. I guess we will see what happens in September, just three weeks away! I will be on the Photo Cruise but will try to report when I can that week on whatever I can!

Aug 242012
 

The new Fuji cameras! The X-E1 and a retro compact! – Leaked images

Photokina is gonna rock next month with some amazing cameras being released. The Leica M10, the new Sony NEX cameras, lenses and surprises, the rumored Olympus E-P4 and Pro OM-D…and now, Fuji is in the game with a new compact and fast zoom lens built-in with a crazy retro appeal, or so say the rumors. Seems Fuji is leading the pack in the retro camera resurgence because as you can see in the image above it looks retro and sleek. These look like they could be legit pics but no one can say with 100% fact that they are. So be aware these are leaked pics and just a rumor for now though I know many “leaks” are controlled leaks so…

No EVF or VF at all though so I expect it to be small, sleek and of course, with that Fuji signature IQ and a decent price point. Looks sweet, like a tiny X100.

The X-E1

Fuji is also rumored to release a lower end/starter camera with the new XF mount as well as a HIGHER end camera (which I think will be an ultra WOW camera) next month. The new rumored X-E1 will be a less expensive version of the X-Pro 1 so this is exciting for those who want that Fuji look and feel but do not want to sound the bucks for the X-Pro. No stats yet of course but as soon as I know I will post it here.

On the camera is the new 18-55 Fuji lens also being announced at Photokina. Of course I will be reviewing ALL new products from Sony, Leica, Fuji and Olympus so it will be a busy next few months for me!

What do you guys think about these new “leaked” cameras. Remember, this is not official yet, just a leak announced over at fujirumors.com. They also state they have “inside info” on a new X-Pro 2. My question…where is the X200?

Leica also has a surprise or two up their sleeve for Photokina. Besides the “M10” which may not even be called the M10…maybe they will adopt the new Apple naming scheme and call it  “The new M” :) Also expect the D-lux 6 and a surprise that no one expects. Hmmmm.

Aug 222012
 

Sony NEX-6 and NEX-5R coming…

So as you may have all seen by now there is a rumored (but 99% solid) leak of the new upcoming Sony NEX-6 and to me, it appears that it may be a little better than the Sony NEX-7. Why? Well for starters, it has the same body style just minus the “Tri-Navi” control system. The sensor will be 16MP, which is what I wished for from the get go with the NEX-7. I feel 16-18MP is the sweet spot for digital and supposedly this new NEX-6 will feature a new 16MP sensor. The cool thing is that these are rumored to have Phase Detect and Contrast Detect AF much like the super speed Nikon V1.

If true, it will not only be a faster camera to AF and use than the NEX-7 but it will also give better IQ with wide-angle Leica lenses (like the 5n does now). So how much will the NEX-7 come in at? Well no one knows anything just yet as this is a RUMOR but usually these rumors are controlled leaks so I am sure that the NEX-6 and 5R is for real.

These cameras are also going to be wireless (or so the rumors say) and this opens up the cameras to WiFi sharing, app’s and more. Imagine Instagram on your NEX-6. Yep, this is the way things are going my friends so it will not be long until our cameras are turned into computers like our phones. Could be amazing though!

My guess is under $999 for the 6 as that would place it below the flagship NEX-7 and give Sony a chance to release a NEX-8 with much better specs. The NEX-6 sounds like a winner already to me, if Sony can just create some kick ass glass for this system there really would be nothing to complain about at all.

There are also rumors of a full frame NEX but I will believe it when I see it. You can read more about Sony Rumors at SonyAlphaRumors.com

C’Mon Sony, give us a couple high quality “Pro” NEX lenses and take this system to the next level!

Sigma DP2 Merrill in hand and review soon…

Ahhhh. Sigma has done it again. Sigma was actually one of the very 1st to release a large sensor in a compact body with their DP1 series of camera. The only problem with that camera was the cheap build, slow as molasses operation and AF and  the fact that it was actually sort of low resolution. I hated the DP1 though I did enjoy the rich image quality and color of the Foveon sensor.

To honor the man who created the Foveon Sensor technology, Dick Merrill, Sigma has created a line of cameras that feature exceptional quality to showcase this sensor design. One of them was the failed (in comparison to almost every other DSLR, sales wise) and ridiculously crazy overpriced at launch SD1 (which has now PLUMMETED in cost) and the others are the DP1 and DP2 Merrill. I had my doubts due to the sluggishness and slow rep of the DP1 cameras but “what the hell” I said! Why not try out their latest and greatest compact large sensor camera?

Yesterday I received the DP2 Merrill, the 46MP Foveon sensor compact. Yep, the same sensor as the big gun “SD1”..all in a $1000 compact-ish body. While not so compact and VERY brick and box like it is a step above the old DP1 I reviewed years ago in build (though still FEELS  a little light and plasticky even though it is a metal body). This camera is BASIC. No gimmicks. Just a gorgeous sensor and fantastic lens attached to a plastic box and let me  tell you, this lens is AMAZING as is the sensor.

My 1st impression was “the slow AF is still here but much better than the 1st gen DP1″…then my 2nd impression was “Damn the write times are awful”…third impression was “Hmmm. I sort of like this simpleness” and my 4th impression was “WOW, even the JPEGS are amazingly gorgeous”!!

So far so good. I am not posting any images here besides a couple quick backyard test shots in JPEG mode. Straight from camera BTW but while the IQ appears to be gorgeous, I am worried the slowness of the camera may kill my enthusiasm for it in real use. I will be taking it out to San Diego this weekend with the Nokia 808 so will be giving it a spin there and will post my review in a couple of weeks. I noticed Sigma shipped 2 batteries with the DP2 Merrill which tells me the battery life must be pretty bad.

So stay tuned for the review and check back daily!

BTW, the lens on the DP2 Merrill has a 45mm equivalent with an aperture of 2.8 – so basically like shooting a 50. The sensor is an APS-C sized Foveon chip which is known for their beautiful colors and crazy detail. The JPEGS look good so far and the color is gorgeous.

Click this out of camera JPEG to see the image larger and full 100% crop embedded – Wide open at 2.8…

…and a full size shot, JPEG wide open at 2.8 – sharp for an OOC JPEG!

another showing the color and detail…

and another – all of these are JPEGS right from camera!

Jul 292012
 

 

Fuji X200 at Photokina? My guess is yes…X100 now $999

As some of you may know the Fuji X100 has been marked down to $999 for the silver version. $200 off the normal price of $1199. B&H Photo, Amazon and other dealers have marked it down. They could be doing this for a couple of reasons, one of which may be that they are selling less now that there is more competition out there (OM-D) and they want to move inventory…or…they have an X200 in the pipeline ready for a Photokina announcement. This makes more sense as the X100 has now been around for a while and in Analog Years the X100 would be 13 years old.

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If Fuji releases an X200 all I can say is I hope they keep the same design and overall feel of the X100. I’d like to see it in black or silver, have an improved hybrid EVF/OVF, much faster AF and operation and improved video functionality and a tillable LCD. If they do this then they will have another sure-fire hit on their hands.

Of course I could be all wrong and they may not have an X200 in the works or ready for announcement in September but it is highly possible. For those who have always wanted an X100, you can now nab one at $999 which is a great buy for this camera. To the Fuji fans, what do YOU want to see in an X200 if indeed there is one coming?

Let me know in the comments below!

$999 X100 at B&H Photo

$999 X100 at Amazon

BTW, the image above was created right after the X100 release by a reader and it was his rendition of what an X200 should look like!  Mr. Svein Gunnar Kjode at blankscapes.com.

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