May 182014
 

The new Sony RX100III may be the hit of the year!

The new Sony RX100III was announced a couple of days ago and it looks like the best of the series to date, by far. The original RX100 was a killer camera that offered best in class IQ and speed and performance for a great price. The RX100 was a special camera, unlike any other at the time. The only issue with it was that there was not an EVF or viewfinder. The RX100II changed this by allowing the use of the Sony external EVF. They also added a backlit sensor for increased performance. Overall though, it was more of a refresh (which I am not a fan of) than a full-blown new camera.

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So now the RX100III is announced and it appears to be a stunner. What is super cool about this one is that Sony has added a POP UP EVF! Press a button and have an instant EVF of you want it. If you do not want it, keep it embedded in the body and used the LCD. Genius. They also kept the built-in flash that also hides in the camera when not in use. They also added a type of 3 Axis IS.

The camera looks the same, is still tiny and pocketable and has a Zeiss lens that will give you an f/1.8-2.8 aperture (a true 1.8 to 2.8 for light gathering) while zooming from 24-70 in 35mm equivalent terms. The sensor is a backlit 20.1 MP 1″ sized monster capable of ISO 12,800. It is said to have much better noise reduction techniques as well over the RX100II and I. The camera also has the Bionz X processor for fast operation and fast AF. The camera also has a built-in ND filter for those times you want to shoot in full sun while keeping the aperture wide open.

IMG_392241 IMG_392242The RX100 was a HUGE hit for Sony. A massive seller. The RX100II was a big hit, but not as huge as the RX100 I. The new RX100III may be the runaway hit of the summer for its small size, fast performance, stellar IQ and cool features. For me, having that pop up EVF nails it. With the RX100 II you needed the $500 external which made the cost of a nice RX100II system well over $1200! The new RX100III is $798 and if it performs as well as the other two will be well worth it. With that said, I have yet to handle one so I hope it does indeed live up to the reputation of the previous two RX100 offerings. But this one is all about take anywhere, front pocket, and quality. I will be reviewing this one, so stay tuned.

You can pre-order the RX100III at B&H Photo HERE or Amazon HERE. Price is $798.

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Details:

20.1MP 1″ Exmor R BSI CMOS Sensor and BIONZ X Image Processor

The large 20.1 megapixel 1″ Exmor R CMOS sensor features backside-illuminated technology to enhance its low-light capabilities to a native ISO 12800 while still retaining vivid clarity. Using Sony’s Column A/D Conversion and area-specified noise reduction, images are rendered with impressive quality and smooth gradations between tones and colors due to the marked, intelligent reduction in apparent noise. Further enhancing imaging quality, detail reproduction technology works to increase the fine detail rendering capabilities for a more three-dimensional, realistic image quality while diffraction-reducing technology helps to enhance the optical qualities of the lens by suppressing diffraction that is common when working at smaller apertures. Additionally, aiding working in difficult lighting conditions, the sensitivity can be extended to an effective ISO 25600 when using Multi-Frame NR, which records and composites sequential images in order to attain high sensitivity with minimal noise.

Also benefitting the image quality, as well as overall camera performance, is the BIONZ X image processor, which provides continuous shooting up to 10 fps in Speed Priority Mode, 2.9 fps shooting with single-shot AF, a shutter lag time of just 0.008 sec., and a start-up time of 1.6 sec.

Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* Lens

The built-in Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* lens provides a 35mm-equivalent focal length range of 24-70mm, covering wide-angle to portrait length perspectives to suit working in a wide variety of shooting conditions. An f/1.8-2.8 maximum aperture benefits working in difficult lighting conditions throughout the entire zoom range and also enables greater control over focus placement for shallow depth of field imagery, which is further accentuated by a seven-blade diaphragm to produce a smooth out-of-focus quality. Nine aspherical elements, including two cemented AA (advanced aspherical) elements, are incorporated into the lens design to minimize chromatic aberrations throughout the zoom range to benefit creating sharp, clear imagery. The lens also features a Zeiss T* anti-reflective multi-layered coating to help minimize lens flare and ghosting in order to produce imagery with rich contrast and color neutrality.

Benefitting the 2.9x reach of this lens, as well as supporting working in difficult lighting conditions and with longer shutter speeds, is Optical SteadyShot image stabilization, which helps to offset the effects of camera shake. When recording movies, the image stabilization utilizes an Intelligent Active Mode, which also uses electronic image stabilization to compensate for both camera shake and rolling shutter effects.

Additionally, a neutral density 0.9 filter is incorporated into the camera’s design, which provides a reduction of three stops in exposure to enable working in bright conditions with wider aperture settings and for greater control over how subject movement is rendered.

Camera Design

Within the compact design of the RX100 III is both a high-resolution electronic viewfinder and a large rear LCD monitor. The 0.39″ 1,440k-dot SVGA OLED Tru-Finder EVF provides a bright, clear means for eye-level monitoring, which is well-suited to critical compositions and working in bright conditions. It features 100% frame coverage, a unique pop-up mechanism, and a Zeiss T* coating on the optics to reduce surface reflections and flare for enhanced visibility. Alternatively, a 3.0″ 1,229k-dot Xtra Fine LCD screen is also available and features a tilting design (180° up, 45° down) to benefit working from high, low, and front-facing angles. WhiteMagic technology has been applied to the LCD’s design, too, to increase effective brightness for easier viewing in bright lighting. When working with both viewing means, an integrated eye sensor automatically switches between both the EVF and LCD. Additionally, the camera can be turned on simply by popping the EVF into place.

For intuitive, SLR-like adjustments over a variety of camera settings, a manual control ring surrounds the lens and features a smooth, click-less design for quick and quiet changing of settings. The ring can be assigned to control a variety of features, at different values, such as zoom, aperture, and Picture Effects. A step-zoom feature can be utilized, too, to allow instant switching between commonly used focal lengths.

Full HD Video Recording

Full HD 1920 x 1080 movies can be recorded in the high-quality XAVC S format, which uses a Long GOP (Group of Pictures) structure, MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 video compression, and linear PCM audio compression, and saves within the MP4 container format. These compressed files permit recording times up to 29 minutes while allowing 50 Mbps video recording at 1080/60p, 1080/30p, 1080/24p, and 720/120p frame rates. Full-pixel readout helps to minimize any artifacts in recordings due to the ability to utilize data from the entire image sensor, which ultimately results in smooth, high-resolution recordings. Movies can also be recorded in the AVCHD format, which is ideal for HDTV playback and Blu-ray disc burning, and the MP4 format, which is ideal for uploading online. Additionally, when shooting for two purposes in mind, dual recording is possible in different formats-XAVC S and MP4 or AVCHD and MP4-for the ability to instantly share footage while also having a higher quality version for subsequent editing.

Benefitting advanced video applications, the RX100 III also supports clean HDMI output for recording uncompressed video via an optional external recorder and for real-time viewing on an accessory monitor. Recording frame rates include 24p, 60p, and 60i, and the shooting info display can be turned off during recording for a cleaner view when utilizing an external monitor.

Built-In Wi-Fi Connectivity with NFC

Built-in Wi-Fi connectivity enables instant transferring of imagery to mobile devices for direct sharing online to social networking, via email, and to cloud storage sites. NFC (Near Field Communication) is also supported, which allows for one-touch connection between the camera and compatible mobile devices, with no complex set-up required. Once connected, the linked mobile device can also display a live view image on its screen and, using Smart Remote Control, remotely control the camera’s shutter release.

Additionally, PlayMemories Camera Apps are also supported via the built-in Wi-Fi connection, and allow you to personalize the camera’s features depending on specific shooting styles. Apps are available to suit creating portraits, detailed close-ups, sports, time lapse, motion shot, and other specific types of imagery.

Other Camera Features

A contrast-detection autofocus system works to acquire precise focus using single-shot or continuous AF modes. When working with moving subjects, Lock-on AF, with wide, center, and flexible spots, adjusts the target frame size as the subject moves throughout the image frame. Face detection and face registration technologies can be used to base focus on recognized faces and Eye AF is also available, which is a detail-oriented focusing function that prioritizes and dedicates focusing performance on a subject’s pupil for sharply-rendered portraits.

For manual focus control, DMF (Direct Manual Focus) and standard manual focus options are available. Benefitting precise manual focus, focus peaking can be used, which highlights edges of contrast within the frame for a more objective means of determining critical sharpness, or MF Assist is available, which enlarges the image for a better view of important details.

A zebra function can be used for easier detection of exposure clipping to prevent overexposure.

A dedicated Custom button permits assigning of one of 42 possible functions for instant, one-touch access to a chosen control.

A digital level gauge detects pitch and roll types of movement and helps to produce even, consistent horizons and plumb verticals.

Smile Shutter technology enables the camera to automatically release the shutter when a subject’s smile is detected

Multi Frame NR records consecutive images at a reduced ISO sensitivity and then composites them into a single image to realize higher effective sensitivity (up to an equivalent ISO 25600) with minimal image noise. Standard image compositing is comprised of four exposures and High image compositing utilizes 12 distinct exposures.

Dynamic Range Optimizer (DRO) works to improve images featuring backlit subjects or scenes with high contrast where details can be lost in the shadows or highlights. This mode can be controlled automatically or fine-tuned using five settings.
Picture Effect modes allow you to apply creative settings and emphasize certain facets of individual images for a richer, more aesthetic picture quality. Posterization (Color/B&W), Pop Color, Retro Photo, Partial Color (R/G/B/Y), High Contrast Monochrome, Toy Camera, Soft High-Key, Soft Focus, HDR Painting, Rich-Tone Monochrome, Miniature, Watercolor, and Illustration modes are available.

Creative Style settings provide control over how the camera processes images based on different predetermined styles: Standard, Vivid, Neutral, Clear, Deep, Light, Portrait, Landscape, Sunset, Night Scene, Autumn Leaves, Black & White, Sepia, and Style Box. Within these settings, contrast, saturation, and sharpness can also be adjusted depending on personal preference.

To extend the effective reach of the optical zoom lens, Clear Image digital zoom can be used to intelligently magnify scenes up to 5.8x at full-resolution. This digital zoom technology uses an intelligent interpolation process to minimize the amount of image degradation in order to produce realistic, high-quality images.

In-camera creation of 4K slide shows is possible for rich playback to ultra high definition televisions. An HDMI port is incorporated into the camera’s design, too, to enable direct connection to HDTVs.
TRILUMINOS Color support is supported to produce rich, natural colors when imagery is viewed on a TRILUMINOS Display.

May 152014
 

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The all new Sony A7s is now up for pre-order at B&H Photo HERE or Amazon HERE at $2,498.00. This will be a full frame monster of a low light shooter. I mean, ISO 50-409,000! 4K video capable and more. Ships July 8th 2014 but pre-orders will always get the 1st shipment! This one will be popular just due to the insane low light capabilities. Slap on a 50 0.95 and shoot in the dark!

Take a look at the official Sony video showing an example often ISO possibilities.

And the video possibilities:

Apr 242014
 

Leica T Pre-Order links and more reviews!

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With the Leica T review going live this morning at 6AM, or 12 hours ago it has enjoyed 98,000 views and almost 300 comments. Wow! As expected, the comments are mixed as it always is with any Leica product review or announcement. One one side you have the Leica haters and on the other you have the Leica fans. Then you have those who just appreciate nice things. Doesn’t matter, we have loads of choices these days and it is always best to buy a camera that MOVES YOU, no matter what it is.

Now that the T review is done and the camera has been shipped back to Leica I am hard at work on a new review for the Mitakon 50 f/0.95 lens I spoke about yesterday. I will be reviewing the new Sony A6000 (in hand) with the lens as well as the A7 so we can see how the lens does on an APS-C and full frame. I was told by Sony yesterday that I should be getting an A7s soon for review..well, not sure HOW soon, but soon-ish. Should be fun.

More T Reviews!

As for  the Leica T, let’s continue on with T day! I found all of the other reviews online besides mine and will link to the ones I really enjoyed. The more you know about it the better!

The one I enjoyed the most is from a guy I have huge respect for. I feel he is an amazing photographer and he also had the T for about 8 days. He was able to test it with BOTH lenses and came away with some gorgeous shots and interesting thoughts on the camera. Check out the review of the T from Kristian Dowling HERE. 

Next up is the review from Jono Slack, who always has a cheerful review of the latest Leica. Check out his thoughts on the T HERE. Be sure to click through to his sample images HERE.

Sean Reid who runs a pay review site published his review on the T this morning as well. You can see it here if you are a paid member.

So check those out if you like. There are 1-2 more online that can be found through google but all seem to say the same thing about the T ;)

Pre-Order Links

You can pre-order the T and all accessories or lenses at the direct links below:

B&H Photo has it listed HERE

Ken Hansen is taking pre-orders. Just e-mail him at [email protected] and tell him you want to pre-order your T!

PopFlash.com is taking orders as well!

The Pro Shop for photographers is all ready to take your pre-order.

Leica Store Miami is also taking pre-orders HERE.

Amazon has yet to put up the T for pre-order..not sure why they are so late to the game.

The T will ship in about a month from today give or take a few days. 

 

 

Mar 242014
 

The new Panasonic 15mm 1.7 available for Pre-Order!

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Panasonic is kicking some serious behind in lenses lately. I have been shooting with the new Panasonic/Leica 42.5 f/1.2 Nocticron and it is one of the best lenses I have ever shot with, on any format. Sharp wide open, creamy Bokeh and a sort of Noctilux style rendering, but on M 4/3. It also resembles the $11k Noctilux in design though not nearly as hefty as the Leica counterpart. The Nocticron is a special lens for Micro 4/3 users and even has a manual aperture ring (but this is not usable on Olympus bodies which control aperture with the dial).

In fact, the Nocticron is so good that I am 90% sure I am going to purchase one even though the price is sky-high.

Add to that the new Panasonic/Leica 15mm f1.7 which also has a manual aperture ring and uses a 46mm filter size. This is a duo that will give you a 30mm and 85mm focal length equivalent for your Micro 4/3 body while giving you pro quality color, contrast, detail and bokeh.

The new 15 1.7 comes in at $599 and is available for pre-order NOW in Black or Silver at B&H Photo. It is also available HERE at Amazon. 

The Nocticron is available NOW for $1598 – EXPENSIVE YES but $9500 cheaper than a Leica Noctilux and 85% as good :)  Amazon also sells the Nocticron and it is IN STOCK. 

I am reviewing and using the Nocticron now on an E-M1 and will post my review soon (but it is a light sucker and rocks at night just like the real Noctilux). The 15 will be shipped to me at release for review so will get on that one as soon as I get it! I am telling you..Micro 4/3 just keeps getting better and better for those who are in the system. Pretty exciting stuff IMO as it is the lenses that make the system and no one beats M 4/3 for lenses in the mirror less world.

With these new Leica partnered lenses…makes me wonder if the new and rumored “Leica T” will be a Micro 4/3 body. I HOPE SO. I would much prefer it to be M 4.3  than a new lens mount APS-C. Using a Nocticron and 15 1.7 on a new Leica mirrorless…could be interesting.

Jan 282014
 

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The OM-D E-M10 and 25 1.8 Lens! New Olympus Firecrackers!!

Sweetness! It must be new camera week as just now Olympus officially announced the much talked about and rumored “baby” E-M5, the E-M10 (right after Fuji dropped the HOT X-T1)! This is IMO a $699 firecracker that will allow anyone to get a taste of the fantastic E-M5 at a great price point. The E-M10 is an all metal body full of features and is pretty much the full IQ of the E-M5 and E-M1 in more affordable body that any enthusiast can afford. The OM-D E-M10 will NOT replace the E-M5. Instead the lineup will remain as it is for now - the starter E-M10, the middle of the road E-M5 and the rock n rolling pro, the E-M1. I feel this is a great move as it gives a more affordable option to those wanting the OM-D experience. Same IQ, same solid build, same experience! 

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If anyone has shown that the Olympus M 4/3 offerings can hang with the big boys it is this very website. Guest post after guest post has shown the power of these little Olympus bodies and IMO they can do anything an APS-C can do besides a little bit less performance at high ISO. They are faster, more accurate in the AF, have better lenses, more lenses and better build than just about any comparable mirrorless body. I am a HUGE HUGE fan of the E-M5 and E-M1 and I expect the E-M10 to be just as wonderful with a few dumbed down features such as 3-Axis IS to the 5-Axis of the more expensive brothers.

To see some wonderful examples of what these Micro 4/3 Olympus bodies can do click HERE, HERE and HERE

You can pre-order the new OM-D E-M10 body only in BLACK HERE or SILVER HERE at B&H Photo.

You can also buy them in kit form – BLACK or SILVER. 

Amazon also has the E-M10 for pre-order HERE!

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Below are the quick notes I took at last weeks briefing on the camera:

New 3 Axis IS

8 FPS shooting

Built in WiFi and Flash (first time for flash)

$699 body 0nly

$799 body and kit 14-42 II kit

New Grip – very cool design!

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The New 25 1.8 Lens

I am also VERY excited about the new Olympus 25 1.8 lens even though we already have the amazing Panasonic 25 1.4. I will tell you why: The design is small, high quality and uses the same optical formula as the super sweet 45 1.8, which is a stellar lens. It will be available in black or silver and for $399. It will focus FAST, be silent in Autofocus and I have no doubt it will be an amazing lens. I have my pre-order in! At $399 this is the biggest no brainer for any Micro 4/3 user who has not yet jumped to the Panasonic 25 1.4. I can not tell a lie..I prefer Olympus lenses to Panasonic lenses as I love the design, feel, silence and speed, oh, and the IQ. The lens below is on the silver OM-D E-M10. NICE. For $1100 you can get the E_M10 and the new 25 1.8 (50mm equivalent) so you have your camera and fast 50, all in a small but high performing package.

Of course I will be reviewing the new OM-D E-M10 as soon as I can get one!

You can pre-order the new 25 1.8 Lens at B&H Photo in Black HERE or in Silver HERE. 

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Other new Olympus Cameras and Lenses announced…

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Olympus has also announced a new super zoom, the SP-100 (A 50X $399 camera with EVF) as well as a new TOUGH camera, the TG-850 for $279 with swivel LCD and drop proof, freeze proof, water proof and crush proof all the way (I will review this one). There is a new fisheye lens cap lens and a new pancake version of the 14-42 Kit zoom (that will NOT be the included lens with the E-M10..OLD ONE IS BUNDLED). The new zoom is actually smaller than the older 17 2.8 Pancake!

The new 9mm fisheye lens cap!

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You can read all about the SP-100 HERE and the TOUGH HERE.

The new Kit Zoom is HERE.

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MORE INFO ON THE NEW E-M10!

OLYMPUS EXPANDS OM-D® CAMERA LINE-UP WITH NEW, EXTREMELY COMPACT E-M10 — THE OM-D FOR ALL

The Image Quality and Power of the E-M1 and E-M5 are now Packed into a More Affordable OM-D Body; Two New Lenses Broaden Olympus’s Micro Four Thirds® System

CENTER VALLEY, Pa., January 29, 2014 — Olympus adds to its award-winning OM-D family with the new E-M10, an interchangeable lens camera that combines the outstanding image quality, speed and power of the flagship Olympus® OM-D E-M1 and the Olympus OM-D E-M5 into an extremely compact and stylish all-metal body. Featuring the new TruePic VII image processor, the same found in the OM-D E-M1, 16 megapixel Live MOS sensor, Wi-Fi® technology, a large, high-speed electronic viewfinder, 3-axis image stabilization, ultrafast autofocus and a built-in flash, it’s the OM-D for photographers looking for an affordable, yet powerful, system camera they can use every day. The new, super-slim M.ZUIKO® DIGITAL 14-42mm f 3.5-5.6 EZ pancake zoom lens and the super-bright M.ZUIKO DIGITAL 25mm f1.8 expands Olympus Micro Four Thirds line-up to 15 lenses.

Best-In-Class Image Quality
The Olympus OM-D E-M10’s 16-megapixel Live MOS sensor, combined with the TruePic VII image processor and M.ZUIKO lenses, delivers beautiful image quality with high resolution, superior color reproduction and high sensitivity that exceeds other cameras in its class. A maximum sensitivity of ISO 25600 is perfect for shooting dark scenes and indoor shooting locations, and ISO LOW mode (100 equivalent) expands the low-sensitivity end. The sensor’s rich dynamic range makes smooth gradations possible and beautifully depicts high-contrast highlights and shadows. Fine Detail Processing II technology configures the appropriate sharpness processing for each individual lens resulting in natural, high-quality resolution.

The Olympus OM-D E-M10’s in-body 3-axis image stabilization system is derived from the world’s first 5-axis system in the E-M5 and E-M1. The 3-axis version effectively counteracts yaw, roll and pitch with both still shots and HD movies, regardless of the lens attached to the camera yielding great results even in poor lighting conditions or when using an exposure time of 1/15 second or less.

Speed

The on-board FAST AF is Olympus’ fastest-ever AF system and uses 81 target areas that cover the whole image. Small AF Target and Super Spot AF modes make it possible to zoom in and focus accurately on minute sections of the frame. The E-M10 is also capable of capturing high-speed action with 8fps sequential shooting, the fast processor supports continuous capture of up to 20 RAW frames or an unlimited number of JPEG frames*, and the Continuous Auto Focus with Tracking mode accurately tracks and captures moving subject as fast as 3.5 fps.

Beautiful OM-D Design

The ultra-slim, compact and lightweight Olympus OM-D E-M10 body is built with precision-machined metal parts and a premium feel that inspires the user. Two easy-to-reach metal dials give excellent operability and improved control, and the grip is designed to rest comfortably in the user’s hand. Despite its size, the E-M10 is the first OM-D with a built-in flash that is optimized for 1/250 second synchronization, a benefit for daytime flash photography.

High-Speed Creative EVF

The large, 1,440,000-dot electronic high resolution viewfinder (EVF) located on the optical axis of the E-M10 features a 120-fps refresh rate, a 100 percent field of view and maximum 1.15x magnification to help accurately frame shots. An eye sensor seamlessly switches the display between the tilting, 3.0-inch touch-screen monitor and the electronic viewfinder. Camera setting information, such as shutter speed, is displayed at the bottom of the viewfinder and photographers can take full advantage of the EVF’s ability to display the effects of various exposure adjustments, Art Filter effects and Creative Controls like Color Creator, Image Aspect control, Highlight/Shadow control, Live Histogram, Display of five different grid patterns and even a Level Gauge — all without having to remove your eye from the viewfinder.

In-Camera Creativity

New features, including Live Composite Mode and Photo & Movie Capture, expand the user’s creative potential. Live Composite Mode is a tool that offers previews of long exposures in the EVF, a perfect tool for anyone looking to easily capture light trails when shooting a star-filled sky. Photo & Movie Capture lets users shoot high-quality still images without interrupting the video recording. 12 Art Filters, three HDR capture modes and Photo Story support your photographic imagination.

Built-In Wi-Fi

The Olympus OM-D E-M10 includes built-in Wi-Fi, and the setup is simple. By quickly scanning the QR code displayed on the camera’s LCD with a smart device, it syncs with the Wi-Fi network created by the camera. The free Olympus Image Share smartphone app synchronizes a user’s smartphone and E-M10 so the camera’s Live View is effectively displayed on the phone. In this way, the camera can be controlled by touching the smartphone display as if it were the camera itself, and users can send selected images directly to websites and social media.

Two New Micro Four Thirds Lenses

Olympus has also introduced two new Micro Four Thirds lenses to its line-up. The super-slim M.ZUIKO DIGITAL 14-42mm* f3.5-5.6 EZ pancake zoom lens measures just .9 inches thick, making it the world’s slimmest standard zoom lens.** It has a smooth electric zoom that is suitable for shooting movies, and can also be zoomed in and out remotely using compatible smartphones through the updated Olympus Image Share app. The super-bright, lightweight, high-performance M.ZUIKO DIGITAL 25mm* f1.8 lens has a fixed focal length and is ideal for capturing portraits or close-ups from as little as 9.8 inches away. Both new lenses are sold separately.

New Micro Four Thirds Accessories

A host of new Micro Four Thirds accessories join the Olympus Micro Four Thirds line-up, including the fixed-aperture F8.0 Fish Eye Body Cap lens with a focal length of 9mm (35mm equivalent: 18mm). It’s an ultra-slim accessory for creative wide-angle shooting through its 5-element, 4-group lens construction. The multi-use lens barrier MF lever switches from pan focus shooting to close up 8-inch shooting with a single press of the lever. The ECG-1 matching ergonomic grip is a removable grip exclusively for use with the E-M10. Designed for absolute comfort, the grip is the perfect thickness for resting the ring finger and pinky when holding the camera. A single press of the lever on the bottom of the grip easily removes it, making replacing batteries and memory cards seamless. The MCON-PO2 macro converter is compatible with six Olympus Micro Four Thirds lenses and adapts them for close-up shooting. Finally, the Automatic Opening Lens Cap LC-37C is available exclusively for use with the new M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 14-42mm F3.5-5.6 EZ. When the camera is turned off, this accessory protects the lens from dust and scratches, and when the camera is powered on the lens cap instantly opens for snapshots and quick shooting.

*35mm Equivalent

**As of January 29, 2014. Shortest distance between the mount and the front end of the lens, when retracted. 

Sep 112013
 

New Camera pre-order! Panasonic GX7, Sony QX10, Olympus E-M1, Leica C

Many new cameras have been announced in the past week or two, and more are on the way before the end of the year..I think :)

Panasonic has the cool and well received new GX7, Sony has announced some cool and different things in the QX10 and QX100 lens/cameras, a DSLR like $399 Alpah 3000 in e-mount and the new NEX-5T and 16-70 Lens.  Leica has announced a rebadged Panasonic LF1 but it is pretty nice looking, and the LF1 is a great little camera as it is. The Leica gives us the style, design and warranty of a Leica for $200 more with some cool accessories available for it as well. Of course, the big one so far is the Olympus OM-D E-M1 and 12-40 2.8 Pro Zoom Lens. Below are full links to my recommended dealers for pre-orders of all of these new releases. Many of us love to pre-order because it means we get the cameras 1st. Sometimes these hot cameras end up having long wait times for those who do not get their order in early (Leica M 240, Sony RX1R, Fuji X100s). The best part is you can pre-order from the dealers below yet your card will not be charged until the items ship. You can cancel at any time before that if you change your mind.

UPDATE: The new Sony Alpha 3000 is IN STOCK and at $398 it is the best bang for the buck out there. It seems to me Sony will LOSE money on this one to get people into the E-Mount system. This is a high speed, with EVF, APS-C camera that is SMALL but DSLR shaped that will accept E- Mount Lenses, have great low light performance, FAST AF, live view, HD video and all of the normal things we expect, including an 18-55 Zoom lens. All for $398. Amazing. I will be reviewing this SOON but did get to see it this past weekend. $398 is a steal for someone wanting to get into an APS-C sensor camera coming from a P&S and wanting that DSLR style.

So for those who are interested, I have listed the new releases that are coming VERY soon below along with their pre-order links! Later today I will have a review up of a Canon 6D with Canon 85L 1.2 and Sigma 35 1.4. Check back later!

 

Panasonic GX7:

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Pre-Order the body only at B&H Photo

Pre-Order the body/kit zoom at B&H Photo

Pre-Order the Body only at Amazon

Pre-Order the Body/kit zoom at Amazon

Sony QX10 and QX100:

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Pre-Order at B&H Photo

Pre-Order at Amazon

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Sony Alpha 3000 with EVF and lens, $398 – BEST bang for buck camera on the market, hands down! 

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Pre-Order at B&H Photo - IN STOCK NOW!!

Pre-Order at Amazon - IN STOCK NOW!!

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Sony NEX-5T – The latest and greatest “5″:

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Pre-Order at Amazon - IN STOCK NOW!

Pre-Order at B&H Photo - IN STOCK NOW!

Leica C – compact with built in EVF:

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Pre-Order at PopFlash.com

Pre-Order through Ken Hansen – email [email protected]

Pre-Order through the Pro Shop

Pre-Order at B&H Photo

Cool Leica C Case at PopFlash.com

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Olympus OM-D E-M1:

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Pre-Order at PopFlash.com

Pre-Order at B&H Photo

Pre-Order at Amazon

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Olympus 12-40 f/2.8 Pro Zoom:

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Pre-Order at PopFlash.com

Pre-Order at B&H Photo

Pre-Order at Amazon

 

 

 

May 142013
 

Wow! Premium 32 1.2 (85mm) for Nikon 1 Series arrives…

Nikon has upped the ante, finally with this new lenses for the Nikon 1 series! A high quality super fast 1.2 aperture 85mm equivalent is ready to be pre-ordered and it looks very nice. While it costs about triple of the Nikon V1 closeout price of $299 at about $900, I bet this will be an amazing portrait lens for the Nikon 1.

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This lens will feature a metal construction, Nano coatings and a floating element along with a big manual focus ring for super fine focusing. It will arrive in Black or Silver and you can pre-order it now at B&H Photo. I can not wait to get a hold of one to test as it can take the little impressive 1 series to the next level with some real shallow DOF possibilities and a pro grade construction.

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Also looks like Nikon reduced the price of the V2 body, now at $696. A perfect companion to the new 32 1.2. Still, a Nikon V2 and 32 1.2 lens will set you back about $1600, more expensive than an  Olympus E-P5 or OM-D E-M5 with a 25 1.4 or 45 1.8 which will get you more shallow DOF if you wanted it. Still, for those Nikon 1 fans, and there are quite a few out there now including my Son who made the V1 and 18.5 his #1 camera, this lens is VERY welcome.

May 122013
 

Olympus PEN E-P5 and all black Lenses now available at Amazon for pre-order

The new Olympus PEN E-P5 and all new accessories and black lenses are now available at Amazon and B&H photo for pre-order. THESE ARE ALL scheduled to be released and shipped by June 15th – about 30 days from now but 1st come, 1st serve. Amazon does not charge you until the item ships, not even an authorization. B&H does not charge you but may do an Authorization at the time of order. Both are easily canceled online if you change your mind. Links below:

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The best bang for the buck is to get the package with lens and EVF which saves you some cash..to the tune of $

The Silver Kit:

Amazon – Olympus E-P5 Silver with black 17 1.8 Lens and new VF-4 EVF – $1449

B&H Photo – Olympus E-P5, Silver with black 17 1.8 Lens and new VF-4 – $1449

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The Black Kit:

Amazon – Olympus E-P5 BLACK with black 17 1.8 lens and new VF-5 EVF – $1449

B&H Photo – Olympus E-P5 BLACK with black 17 1.8 lens and new VF-5 EVF – $1449

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The new EVF – VF-4

Amazon – VF-4 - $279

B&H Photo – VF-4 - $279

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The new Black 75 1.8 Lens (see my review of this amazing lens HERE)

Amazon – The black Olympus 75 1.8 Lens – $899

B&H Photo – The black Olympus 75 1.8 Lens – $899

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The new Black 45 1.8 Lens (Review Here)

Amazon – The black Olympus 45 1.8 Lens

B&H Photo – The black Olympus 45 1.8 Lens

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The new Black 17 1.8 Lens (Review Here)

Amazon – The black Olympus 17 1.8 Lens

B&H Photo – The black Olympus 17 1.8 Lens

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So who and why should you pre-order? If you know for a fact you want this new E-P5 or any of  these lenses, pre-ordering ensures you get them 1st, when they are released. Sometimes, like with the OM-D E-M5 there is huge demand and when the camera ships, they are not available as they are all shipped to those who pre-ordered 1st. Pre-ordering is a zero risk thing to do. How so? Well, you do not get charged until the item ships. For example, I pre-ordered the silver set at Amazon with the new EVF and black 17 1.8. I did this so I can review it and get it when it is released. My debit card (I do not believe in credit cards) was not charged, nor was it authorized. It will not be charged until the items ship on or around June 15th. Anytime before this I can go into my Amazon account online and cancel my order or change my shipping speed. So if I decide in 2 weeks that I don’t want it, I can cancel it – no harm.

When the camera does ship..what if it sucks? What if I hate it? What if it has quirks? Easy, I can return it for a full 100% refund. I log into Amazon, go to my account and find the order. I click on “return item” and instantly Amazon presents me with a UPS shipping label I can print or they offer me the option of having UPS pick it up from my home on the next day where the driver will have a label. All I have to do is box it up. When I return an item to Amazon, my refund is usually processed as soon as they see UPS have picked it up from me or when I have dropped it off at a UPS location. Amazon has the best return process in the business, just do not abuse it.

When a camera is returned to Amazon (as long as it is not a defect) they sell it as used at a discount, sometimes pretty nice discounts. They do not resell it as new, ever.

I have been shopping with Amazon for MANY years and have bought many items from them. I have returned a few as well from Headphones, Cameras, Lenses and other misc. items. Never an issue or problem. Always a joy.

So pre-ordering a camera is actually quite smart if you know you will want it. It makes sure you get it when it is released and that you will not be waiting in some line for your name to come up. That is how I get most of my cameras 1st :)

As I have done in the past over the last 5 years, I provide pre-order links on new cameras and lenses for your convenience and also because it helps this site to continue on. When you use those links above, I get a small percentage that helps pay for web hosting and all of the other expenses that add up to run this site (which are much more than you could know). That is the only thing that keeps this site rolling along. So thanks in advance to anyone using my links for their purchase. It costs you nothing more at all, but really helps me out. So thank you :)

Apr 172013
 

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The new Ricoh GR Camera is ready for pre-order and ready to stomp on the Nikon Coolpix A!

A new GR digital and it looks FANTASTIC and mark my words: THIS IS A NIKON COOLPIX A KILLER! It may say Pentax but it looks, feels, smells and shoots like a Ricoh GR on steroids.

I have been asked by 20-30 to review the Nikon coolpix A so I tried it out in a shop and was not impressed. Why? The AF speed is just too slow for my tastes in this price bracket of $1100. The IQ is good it just seems to me like Nikon rushed it together to have something to compete with in the APS-C segment. If a camera does not have snappy AF these days I do not want to own it as it doesn’t excite me one bit. At $1100 the coolpix A is not the best buy IMO. At $700, yes. $1100, no. I’d go with the incredible Fuji X100s for $1299 before I would buy a Coolpix A for $1100. Don’t get me wrong, the Coolpix A has great imaging potential but so does the Sigma DP Merrill series, even more so actually. 

The new GR WILL be reviewed by me as it is a camera that excites me and makes me think of the possibilities. A pocket camera with an APS-C sensor, decent AF and a killer lens, all with the GR heritage. Amazing. The lens is a 28mm equivalent and has two aspheric elements and 7 elements total. The GR series has always been fantastic and I am thrilled that it has now stepped up to APS-C. The all black smooth design of the GR brings me back to the old film GR cameras. Sweet.

Take a look at the official video below on the new camera:

B&H Photo has the GR up for pre-order at $796.95, and that is a great price for a camera like this. My pre-order is in because I feel not only will this beat the Nikon Coolpix A but it probably will dethrone my fave pocket rocket, the Sony RX100! My crystal ball is showing me a price redux on the coolpix A soon… :)

Key Features of the new GR

16.2MP APS-C Format CMOS Sensor - I feel 16-18 Mp is perfect.

GR ENGINE V Image Processor

No Optical Low-pass Filter – YES!

18.3mm f/2.8 Lens (28mm Equivalent) - Nice wide FOV

3.0″ 1,230k-dot White Magic LCD Screen

Full HD 1080p Video Capture

ISO Range of 100-25600 – A GR digital with ISO up to 25,600 means 3200 will be great.

High Speed AF and 4 fps Burst Shooting

Image Effects and Macro Mode

Compact Magnesium Alloy Body – These bodies always feel great.

You can PRE-ORDER the GR at B&H Photo HERE!

You can Pre-Order the GR at PopFlash.com HERE

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You can PRE-ORDER the GR at B&H Photo HERE!

You can Pre-Order the GR at PopFlash.com HERE

To me, that is what it is all about. Excitement. If a camera can excite me just from looking at specs and a video, then I am in. More soon and you can see my old GRIII review HERE.

Steve

 

Feb 052013
 

The new Leica M 240 Pre-Order links

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Had about 16 e-mails today asking me where I recommend to go to for a new M. As previously posted, the top Leica dealers have been taking pre-orders for the M for a while. Below is a list of where you can pre-order the new Leica M 240, well, the dealers and stores that I highly recommend for stress free and hassle free shopping:

Ken Hansen – email him at [email protected]

PopFlash – http://www.popflash.com

The Pro Shop for Photographers – Call them at 561-253-2606

Dale Photo 

Amazon has them up for pre-order now as well, just opened up - Black or Silver.

B&H Photo has them as well for pre-order and they show a ship date as Feb 28th – Black or Silver

 

Jan 082013
 

Fuji X100s and X20 Available for Pre-Order at Amazon – $1299

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Amazon now has the Fuji X100s available for Pre-Order at $1299. You can check it out or pre-order HERE!

Yep, $1299 for the X100S which has the same body and style as the X100 but with the new improved X-Trans sensor, new Manual focus system, new phase detect super fast AF and more. Amazon does not charge you until the camera ships and you can cancel at anytime. By pre-ordering early you can be one of the 1st to get the camera. This is how I get all of my cameras that I am interested in, just by being early on pre-order lists. Amazon also has the best return policy around so it’s never a gamble. If you are someone who is upgrading to the X100s, I would get in now!

 

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 Amazon has the X20 for pre-order as well HERE

B&H Photo also has the X20 up for pre-order HERE 

 

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Sep 192012
 

You can now pre-order the Leica M or M-E from my top recommended dealers! M is set to ship January and the M-E October 1st!

The definitive M is here. NO more numbers..just the M. 2013 Model. $6950 which is the same price as the M9 but with better low light capability, 24 MP full frame sensor, rich color and dynamic range, bitingly sharp yet simple and intuitive. The full frame camera with the technology some have asked for. Live view, 1080 video, improved LCD screen, EVF capability, with sleek and gorgeous lines that keep teh M look alive.

Be first to get one. My pre-order is in.

PRE-ORDER THE LEICA M in CHROME! The new 24MP CMOS definitive M – $6950  - Expected to ship Jan 2013

PRE-ORDER the new Leica M in BLACK – $6950 – Expected to ship January 2013

Check out and preorder the new Leica M-E at $5495  - expected to ship October 1st 2012

PRE-ORDER WITH KEN HANSEN BY E-MAILING HIM AT [email protected]

You can also pre-order at popflash.com 

or

Dale Photo also has the new M and M-E available for pre-order HERE

Mar 022012
 

Pre-Order the new SLR Magic T0.95 Hyperprime LM (Leica Mount) Lens Now!

Just heard from SLR Magic and they have just now opened up pre-orders for their Leica Mount 50 T0.95 Lens. As stated previously, the cost for this lens is $4288 if you want the Leica RF Coupled Version. What does this mean? If you buy this lens and ever have plans of using it on an M mount rangefinder camera like any film M or any digital M or even an Epson RD1 then you NEED the coupled version. This will allow you to focus the lens using the RF patch.

If you plan on using it only on a NON M body like a Sony NEX, Micro 4/3 or Roch GXR with M mount then you do NOT need an RF coupled version and this can save you $1,288 because the NON coupled CINE version is $2988.

You can pre-order that lens and even their much sought after 12mm f/1.6 for micro 4/3.

Seems the 50 T0.95 lenses will be shipping starting June-September and the 12mm 1.6 in April. You can click HERE to order.

Also note that you can choose between a green ring or black ring! Awesome.

My continuing review of the 50 LM T0.95 can be seen here and the 12mm f/1.6 review is HERE.

BTW, the photos in the image below at the SLR Magic website are NOT of the LM T0.95 lens but the Micro 4/3 hyper prime.

 

UPDATE MARCH 3rd 2012 – Due to the large amount of pre-orders SLR Magic has taken down the Leica M coupled version of the lens. The Non coupled is still available for pre-order. 

Feb 192012
 

Estimated ship dates for the OM-D, Fuji X-Pro 1 and Pentax K-01!

Was browsing B&H photo and noticed the estimated ship dates for the Olympus OM-D, Pentax K-01 and Fuji X-Pro 1 have been listed! Here you go!

 

Olympus OM-D – ESTIMATED SHIP DATE – APRIL 10TH 2012 - Pre-Order Here

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Fuji X-Pro 1 – ESTIMATED SHIP DATE – March 20th 2012 – Pre-Order Here

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PENTAX K-01 – ESTIMATED SHIP DATE – MARCH 29TH 2012 – Pre-Order Here

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