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Apr 202017
 

SITE UPDATE: New Server…some glitches..fixed soon

Hey guys, I switched the site over to a new faster server a couple of days ago and have discovered some glitches within the comments (some not being able to) and my contact form (I have taken down the form and replaced with my email for now). I will be working on getting this all fixed this weekend, so if you have any glitches anywhere on the site today, feel free to  let me know.

I will be doing a redesign as well soon, so some cool things to come here to the site. Out testing the new Sony A9 today and am excited to do so even if it is raining and cold here in NYC today!

Enjoy your day all!!

Steve

LINKS: My Facebook, My Youtube (new videos every week these days)

It’s the calm before the storm! Big post coming this week…stay tuned.

 News  Comments Off on It’s the calm before the storm! Big post coming this week…stay tuned.
Jan 162017
 

It’s the calm before the storm! Big post coming this week…stay tuned.

Hey guys, just wanted to say it will be slow this week as I have been working on something behind the scenes and very very busy. Not only for this website but for the other part of my life which has blown up beyond belief. FYI, if anyone is into the Paranormal, tine into Paranormal Lockdown THIS WEEK Friday on TLC as I will be on the show using my device/invention to help unlock some of the mysteries of the Bellaire House, no joke. I have been doing this for many years and what I do is real ITC research. You can see more at my para website here if that interests you.

Besides that I have something cool for you guys this week that is taking up a lot of my time! That’s all I can say ;) Comments for this page are off as no speculation is needed, but I think you all will enjoy it.

Steve

Oct 282016
 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Ramblings at 1:30 AM. Micro 4/3 and the new Olympus EM1 MKII

I have used many cameras in my days, from the time I was a kid to my teen years and into my adult life. I have used the very 1st digital cameras, many film cameras, the most expensive digital cameras, medium format cameras and the latest tech comes through my hands on a regular basis. I have written on these pages for eight years now, my thoughts and experiences with these cameras and this blog is known worldwide and has had over 134 Million views total to date. Way beyond what I ever imagined when I started it, so thanks to all who visit here, truly.

I love what I do, and it shows when I review a camera that excites me, a camera that motivates me to use it and a camera that is truly fantastic.

Many of you know how it works here. I review the cameras I truly love and skip over the ones that do not do anything for me. Been like that since the inception of this site, and will never change. While I could make a ton of money and boost traffic by writing and reviewing ALL cameras and pushing Fuji or whatever, I do not base my reviews on how much money it can bring in (probably not wise of me as a business man) but base them on heart, soul and exactly how I feel about a camera (or anything I review for that matter).

Over the years, as I said, I have used them all and what I write on these pages are my 100% honest, truthful feelings when I do the review. It is my passion after all. Of course, time moves on, and years later I will not feel the same about a camera as I did when it launched..as tech improves, and cameras get better and better. Imagine reading a review of an old old Nikon D100 and then a D500. The D500 will be miles ahead of the old aging D100 and while the 100 was good for its time, today it..well..sucks. ;)

Today we have all kinds of options when it comes to digital cameras. Phone cameras,  1″ sensors, Micro 4/3, APS-C , APS-H, Full Frame and beyond. They are all good today though as camera tech has matured to the point where it is tough to buy a bad camera. But there are some out there that are extraordinary when they are launched, for their time. Cameras like the Leica M9, the Fuji X100, the Sony A7RII, Sony RX1, Leica SL, Leica Q, Olympus E-M1, Nikon D700 and others were all amazing at the time they were launched, and some still are. They all offered the photographer something different and yes, choice is good, as it is always a personal thing.

APS-C and Full Frame have remained pretty steady for the last couple of years, improving with each update as new tech is developed. (Though the new Sony 6500 is an absolute speed demon and truly an advanced APS-C camera). Micro 4/3 has not had a truly “pro” built camera since the E-M1 years ago. But….

…Today Micro 4/3 is delivering some serious goods from bodies to lenses, and here at the end of 2016 it better than ever, not only with the E-M1 MKII but the new lenses, from Panasonic and Olympus both. But man, I have to gush on here a bit as these new Olympus lenses are something else. I expected the new 12-100 f/4 to be “meh” but it impressed me with its incredible detail retrieval, its color performance and contrast as well as across the frame performance. It can focus so close, to 1cm. It offers the same quality from 12-100, wide open to stopped down. It’s a cracking lens that delivers the goods in every way. It even ups the ante on the IS and merges with the 5 AXIS IS in the camera body to create the best IS ever. Some here testing the camera were able to do a 2 second shot handheld. That is incredible.

Primes? The new 25 1.2 is a marvel. If you read Neil Buchan Grants post here a while back on this lens, you would realize he LOVED IT. Here is a quote from Neil’s write up:

“It’s so good, I’m selling my Leica SL and all of my Leica lenses the second I can get one of these 25mm’s to keep! Of course, its bokeh is not quite as diffuse as the 50mm Summilux on a full frame sensor, you can’t change the laws of physics. I know this lens is optically the equivalent of a 50mm f2.4 lens on a full frame sensor. But I can tell you now, from my perspective the results are just as beautiful and expressive and they ooze quality in the same way the 50mm summilux does. When you further combine the fact that this is an autofocus lens which makes use of the Olympus eye recognition system and their in-body stabilisation system, you have a lens that is so much more useable, quick and accurate”

Now many would read that and think “Yea right” or “He is just trying to sell lenses”..but I assure you that what Neil says is spot on. After using this lens myself, well..I can say that it has a magical quality that when exploited can create jaw dropping gorgeous images with some of the best Bokeh and gentle subject separation I have seen. It is nothing like the older 45 1.8 or 75 1.8 when it comes to the way the lens draws, it is something special when you get it right. In fact,  it reminds me VERY much of a Leica lens, and there is enough shallow DOF one could want, and the DOF seems more shallow wide open than what I get from a Leica 50 2.4 Summarit, and I actually prefer the IQ from the Oly lens as well. This is a special lens, and it is a big deal for Micro 4/3 users.  A normal 50mm equivalent with some of the best Bokeh I have ever seen. Also, the lens is not huge like some have said. It is not heavy. It is f/1.2 though, and will be larger than a 25 1.8 but you will also get the extra speed, and IQ. One way I can describe it is that when shooting the 25 1.8 the files look more digital and sterile when side by side with the f/1.2. When using the new 25 1.2 they look ethereal at times, magical at others and the 3D separation is amazing. This is a MUST OWN lens for any M 4/3 user who loves fast primes and shallow DOF.

The fact is, Micro 4/3 is killing it with the new Olympus (and even the latest Panasonic GX85 and GX8 are fantastic). But the E-M1 MKII is the next level for M4/3, and when reviews hit soon I suspect the huge majority will be singing its praises.

As for me, I just reviewed the images I shot with this new camera and the new lenses over the past few days here in Iceland. Even viewing on my old Macbook Pro, I am seeing images that I am so happy with and while this system is better than I am, what I am seeing are images better than ANY M 4/3 review I have ever done when it comes to quality.  Even low light is improved, and low light AF is so much better than before. Speed and response is fantastic and the build and feel is pro all the way. No cheap feel here, at all, anywhere. This camera could shoot sports, action, wildlife, portraits, weddings or whatever you want and it would deliver the goods.

While it is not perfect (A Leica SL EVF would have made it very close), it is probably the most advanced camera I have ever used or tested. In fact, I know it is. Again, I have used them all so when I say this I mean it. I even did some ISO tests and was very surprised to see a 12,800 ISO shot, with Noise Reduction off..looking crisp, mostly clean, and with no color fading. Usable for sure.

When I step back and look at the system today, I am seeing a system that is as solid as any out there. With the new lenses from Olympus AND Panasonic bringing IQ to the next level for this system to the new EM1 MKII body, I am excited for the future of the format. While some will never get into M 4/3 because they have a “bigger is better” frame of mind, I feel many more will be jumping in with these new releases once the review floodgates open. Many journalists here are thinking of ways to save up to buy one, and me, I will buy one 100% without question because I have seen it, used it and know what it can do.

With that said, do not expect the quality of a Medium Format camera but expect fantastic quality in images with AMAZING quality and features everywhere else (weather proof build, usability, speed, reaction time, and all the features this camera has), that tops mostly all other cameras I have used.

So my friends, believe it when I say that Micro 4/3 has come a long way since the early days and yes, it is here to stay. I love the fact that today we have so many choices, and while for some it may be hard to decide, we can not say that we are not free to express our creativity as we have a myriad of tools to choose from to do just that. Wether that is with medium format, or a Leica Noctilux and M or an iPhone 7, today is a great time to be a photographer, hobbyist or enthusiast.

I have said many times, Olympus, Sony and Fuji are leading the way with tech and advancements in mirrorless technology, and IMO more so than Nikon and Canon who deliver much of the same old same old (though the Nikon D500 is a heck of a camera).

While Micro 4/3 can not deliver the all out Dynamic Range and high ISO of something like a Sony A7S or A7RII, it is getting close and of all the shots I took while here, DR was NEVER an issue. While Micro 4/3 can not deliver shallow DOF like a full frame sensor can, it is getting a little closer with lenses like the 25 f/1.2 and Nocticron and delivers plenty for most.

IQ is not the be all end all though of a camera, as the new E-M1II offers so much..so much that others do not. But to read all about it, check back on 11/2 for my 1st part report which will contain 60+ images and many many words from my heart direct to you. When something comes along that is truly great, it excites and motivates me and the new EM1 MKII has done just that. Hell, it motivated me enough to sit and write this at 1:30 AM while in my Hotel room in Iceland. ;)

Oh, BTW, the image at the top is of the EM1 II with the extra grip, which I would not buy or want (but some love these grips). Without the grip the camera is smaller than any DSLR, and take away the lens hood from the new lenses and the system is still very compact, especially for what it delivers and offers the photographer who chooses to use it.

Enjoy your weekend everyone!

Steve

 

 

 

Jul 072016
 

nbn

The new Fuji X-T2 Announced! Details here…

Fuji announced the new X-T2, and as some of you may know, the X-T1 was the last Fuji I truly enjoyed, so I am happy to see this new update. While I have not always been a HUGE Fuji fan or guy, I do appreciate the X100 series and the X-T series.

First of all, you can order the X-T2 here at B&H Photo, but take a look below at photos and specs and my thoughts on what could be the next great Fuji camera.

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DETAILS ON THE NEW X-T2 

I highlighted the key features in BOLD 

“Offering a more conventional form factor and packing in UHD 4K video recording, Fujifilm’s X-T2 Mirrorless Digital Camera certainly aims to fill the needs of many working professionals. Equipped with a 24.3MP APS-C X-Trans CMOS III image sensor and the X-Processor Pro Engine, users will be able to capture finely detailed imagery quickly and with low noise at sensitivities up to ISO 51200. The powerful combination permits rapid image capture at up to 8 fps with full AF tracking or at up to 14 fps using the silent electronic shutter. In terms of AF, the X-T2 uses an Intelligent Hybrid system with 325 points that ensure accurate, fast tracking of subjects in all modes.

For video, the X-T2 offers internal UHD 4K video as well as an 8-bit 4:2:2 HDMI output. The internal recording offers 100 Mbps bitrate for capturing fine details with ease. Along with this an F-Log Gamma setting will be available for capturing a flat picture best used in serious grading applications. Fuji’s array of Film Simulations and Grain Effects can also be used here, for both photo and video shoots.

Improved handling is a key upgrade in the X-T2, incorporating a larger grip, locking dials, raised buttons, and more to make operation smoother. The weather-sealed body also sports a 0.5″ 0.77x 2.36m-dot OLED EVF with a larger eyecup for comfortable composition and a base refresh rate of 60 fps, which can be boosted to 100 fps. There is also a 3.0″ 1.04m-dot three-way tilting LCD screen for alternative viewing options. This screen has a unique tilt that permits shooting at odd angles, including in the portrait orientation. Additionally, it has a focus lever joystick that allows for rapidly adjusting and changing the selected AF point or area.”

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THE NEW 24.3 APS-C XTRANS CMOS III

I love the fact that Fuji is still progressing (along with Sony and Olympus) fast and far with new cameras, sensors, features and even video as we see here in the new X-T2. This new sensor promises improved ISO performance with a very nice native 12,800 max, with the ability to push to 51,200. Also, the sensor has NO AA filter, which his good. (I’m not a fan of AA filters).

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X-Processor Pro

This new processor allows the camera to start up in under 0.3 seconds, it is all about speed my friends. With this processor, you also get a shutter lag of 0.05 seconds, and AF speeds at up to 0.8 seconds. There is also a top focal plane shutter speed of 1/8000 sec and a flash sync speed of 1/250 sec for those who were wanting to know ;)

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UHD 4K Video Recording and F-Log Gamma

Fuji FINALLY gets the video juiced up on this X-T2. The first Fuji to offer 4K video. 100 MBPS with only a minor crop of the sensor (1.17X). Along with the vastly enhanced recording capabilities, the X-T2 offers an F-Log Gamma setting that provides a flat picture for use in advanced color grading software during editing. This should maximize the potential dynamic range in difficult scenes. Image adjustments can be made as well to highlight tone, shadow tone, color, and sharpness. Additionally, HDMI output is supported with an 8-bit 4:2:2 signal and users will be able to use Film Simulation effects to capture unique video.

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NEW OLED EVF and TILT SCREEN

I don’t know about you, but I love a good EVF and a tit screen LCD on the back. To me, having both of these items in a camera makes it not only more fun to use, but more serious. A good EVF can lead to GREAT photographic vision, and using a tilt LCD can help get you those angles you normally may not get. The X-T2 gives us not only a good EVF but a great tilt LCD. Good stuff.

More on the EVF: The 0.5″ EVF offers a high 0.77x magnification along with a 2.36m-dot resolution that ensures crisp imagery. Along with these features, the EVF uses an OLED display that provides deep blacks and rich, vivid colors. To ensure a clear view, the EVF offers a base refresh rate of 60 fps which can then be boosted to 100 fps for moments of intense action.

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Intelligent Hybrid 325-Point Autofocus System

FROM FUJI: “Blending both phase- and contrast-detection focusing methods, the X-T2 is capable of acquiring focus both quickly and accurately. The entire system is comprised of 325 points, of which there are numerous phase-detection points for faster performance that is beneficial to photographing moving subjects. Approximately 50% of the width and 75% of the height of the imaging area is covered by phase-detection points, too, to offer greater compositional freedom without sacrificing fast autofocus performance. The majority of the frame is then also covered by an apt contrast-detection focusing system that has been quickened by the camera’s refined processing power for more versatile control. For refined manual focusing control, Focus Peaking is available to highlight lines of contrast in the scene to more objectively determine sharp focus.

Continuous AF modes have been seriously upgraded, as the X-T2 now offers customization of a variety of settings in order to dial in the performance for your specific subject matter. This includes changing the sensitivity, speed, and more to ensure that just what you want to capture is in focus.”

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More awesomeness of the new X-T2

AWESOME!!! Supporting its use in harsh climates, the durable weather-resistant body design is constructed from magnesium alloy and sealed to protect against dust, moisture, and cold temperatures down to 14°F.

SWEET!!! Dual SD card slots allow for a more flexible and reliable means of storing imagery, and both card slots are compatible with UHS-II standards for fast transfer speeds.

COOLNESS: The top plate incorporates a series of locking dials and levers for fast, intuitive adjustment over exposure settings, including a shutter speed dial that offers a mechanical shutter speed range from 1 to 1/8000 sec, as well as bulb and time settings. An ISO dial is also incorporated into the shutter speed dial, for confirming the sensitivity setting without having to turn the camera on. The exposure compensation dial lets you choose +/- 3 EV in 1/3 steps, and a command dial position expands the range to +/- 5 EV for further control.

NICE TOUCHES: A dedicated Focus Lever provides faster, more intuitive control over selecting specific focus points while shooting. A larger grip and larger eyecup are available for a more comfortable feeling. Four-way buttons on the back of the camera have been raised for a more tactile feel.

ELECTRONIC: An electronic shutter function permits using shutter speeds up to 1/32,000 sec for working with wide aperture settings in bright lighting conditions.

Built-in Wi-Fi enables wireless transferring of imagery to linked mobile devices as well as remote control over camera settings and the shutter via the free Fujifilm Camera Remote app. Additionally, this connectivity enables the use of the optional instax SHARE Smartphone Printer for wireless instant printing via the instax Share app.

An interval timer permits recording time-lapse sequences and can be configured to record up to 999 frames in time spans ranging from one second to 24 hours.

Multiple exposure mode gives you the ability to overlay imagery in-camera. When working in this mode, subsequent exposures can be paired and the final appearance can be previewed on the LCD or in the EVF before making the final exposure.
Additional Advanced Filters can also be used to creatively enhance the look of imagery in-camera, and include Toy Camera, Miniature, Pop Color, High Key, Low Key, Dynamic Tone, Soft Focus, and Partial Color (Red/Orange/Yellow/Green/Blue/Purple).

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So what Fuji has done here is create what I feel will be the ultimate Fuji. Just as I loved the X-T1 (see my review HERE), the X-T2 will also be reviewed by me here.

WHERE TO PRE-ORDER

THE PRICE OF THE X-T2 BODY ONLY IS $1599. You can also order with a kit lens, the 18-55 FOR $1899

The Fuji X-T2 can be pre-ordered at B&H Photo HERE. You can also check out my other preferred Fuji dealer PopFlash.com.

BODY ONLY – $1599

WITH THE FANTASTIC 18-55 LENS – $1899

Nov 132015
 

REVIEWS COMING: Sony RX1R Mark II and The Leica SL

SITE UPDATE: Before the end of this year I will have three major reviews written and published.

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First, the Sony RX1R Mark II which I will be starting on next week. My 1st look video and samples will be up next week Wednesday, the 18th, and a full review to follow 2 weeks later. This will be my last Sony review of the year as almost all of Sony’s new releases have now been reviewed here (A7II Here, A7RII Here, A7SII Here, RX100 IV Here and the RX10 II will be in Jan sometime)

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THEN, I will start getting to work on my Leica SL review which will be a big one. Due to many requests, comparisons to the M 240 and A7RII using a 50 Summilux ASPH for all three will be included. Will be shooting the SL like mad to give it a proper review. I am looking forward to this one ;) I expect this review to be out mid December after some serous shooting time with it.

There will also be one more review for a still un-announced camera before the year’s end as well. Hmmmmmmm ;)

Stay tuned! New videos coming as well.

 

News Feed and E-Mail Posts have been changed. Here is why..

 News  Comments Off on News Feed and E-Mail Posts have been changed. Here is why..
Jun 112014
 

News Feed and E-Mail Posts have been changed. Here is why..

My news feed and e-mail posts have been changed. In fact, about two weeks ago I changed them from sending out the full post to just sending the 1st paragraph or two. I have had about 40 e-mails since then asking me why I did this. Some were very polite and kind and others were rude, mean and hateful, which is odd. Why would someone send me a rude e-mail demanding I change the feed back to full when this is a 100% FREE site? I work 60-70 hours per week on this site and I make the rules here and by me providing FULL feeds and E-Mail updates over the past 2-3 years, while great for many of you, was awful for me. Why? Well, look at it from my perspective. As I said, I run this site which has thousands of articles that have been written and placed over the last five years, right here for anyone to see. There is a ton of useful information here, and to keep this site running fast, smooth and to keep it from attackers and hackers it does cost me a pretty penny every month. The site, as it is receives anywhere from 75k to 110k visits each day, depending on what is posted that day of course. To keep it running 99.9% of the time and running reliably I have a VERY fast dedicated server. I have two backup solutions so if something did crash it would be back up within minutes. I have security measures in place to stop DOS attacks and other malicious things. So yes, it costs me money, quite a bit every month just to keep it going.

Since it is a free site, I rely on my advertisers and affiliate sales. Without traffic coming to the site, no ad revenue. I have noticed over the past 8-12 months that thousands of readers were no longer clicking over to the site because they were reading the full articles in their newsreader, which bypasses all of the ways I am able to make money to keep this site “going and growing”. I decided to make the feeds show just the beginning of the article and those of you who get the feeds, this means all you have to do is take the one second to click over if it is something you want to read ;) The content is and always will be 100% free! All I ask is for a click over to the site from your news reader or email. Easy squeezy. As soon as I changed it I noticed MANY more hits coming in over what was currently there, so I thank those of you who are clicking over.

So to those who have been asking me why I changed it over, this is why. Hopefully you understand, even you meanies who emails and DEMANDED I change it back, lol. FYI, Most sites these days do NOT include full feeds as that is bad business.

Hope everyone is having a GREAT day! I am gearing up for my Vacation trip soon so getting excited about it. Will be many cool photo opps and nothing is cooler than going on a trip to see different scenery to get your creative justices flowing. More to come today!

Steve

May 222013
 

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How lucky can one guy be? By Steve Huff

For the past 20 years or so I have considered myself to have an unusual amount of luck in life. Today that lucky streak continues on for me as I am the happiest I have ever been in life and have everything I could ever ask for. While I do not ask for much, I have everything I could need. A small and modest home, a lovely & adorable super sweet and caring fiancée, an amazing Son who never gives me an ounce of trouble or worry, my health, great family dogs, and the basic necessities of life that make it all fun.

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I also have this blog/website that I have become quite fond of as it gives me the ability to share my photo experiences as well as allow the readers to share theirs so we can all learn, even me. I can share my passion and that is what I do every day when I wake up. Sometimes I am awake at 5AM, sometimes at 9AM. That is the beauty of running your own blog, you make your own hours! While I am far from rich or well off, I am happy with what I do and how I live. I do not stress about growing the blog, I just keep on doing what I have always done. To me, that is all that matters, staying happy and passionate about what you are doing. If it starts to feel like “work” then it is not fun anymore, and that would not be cool.

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The friends I have made due to this site are also a bonus. Yep, this blog has changed my life over the past 5 years. Crazy. In the 80’s when growing up all I had to read was Photo Magazines. Today we have instant information. It is a whole new world, one I embrace.

I also have other things going on that have taken off dramatically in the past 9 months and I attribute that to my passion and dedication as well as my luck :) Many years ago an old friend once accused me of having a horseshoe up my rear. Sure, I had some hard and very tough times over the past 5 years as well, but overall I feel very lucky and blessed to have what I have.

But this post today started out with me thinking about how I could be so lucky as something “fell in my lap” this week that I could not pass up! As many of you know, I sold my Leica M 240 a few weeks ago to keep my Leica MM. I knew I made the right call for ME at that moment and knew that I would  one day own that M again as it was indeed a camera I thoroughly enjoyed. I figured it would take 9-12 months for me to save money and to be able to get another one from a dealer. So away I went..shooting like a B&W madman with a Monochrom.

A few days ago I had an email come in from a very nice guy, Andrew Wonder. He is a reader here and also has his own pretty cool website here. He told me he ordered a Leica M 240 from B&H Photo months ago and it was coming in but he was going to refuse delivery…unless I wanted to buy it, at his cost. Andrew decided it was not for him and offered it to me.

Wow…what luck. While everyone else in Leica land is waiting months and months and months I had the opportunity to buy another M 240 NOW. New, untouched and still sealed in the B&H shipping box and I would be able to buy at normal price, not the $9000 price  they are selling for on e-bay. I am the kind of guy who looks at certain things in life as signs. I have followed these signs for 20 years and attribute most of my “luck” to instinct and the choices I make when presented with an opportunity. Not that shelling out $7k for a camera is really “opportunity” but in some ways it is, for me.

I knew there were many waiting for this camera and that it would be sold within minutes if I posted here for Andrew. I also remembered why I sold the 1st one. Money, expenses, my bank account :)

But I also had some luck over the past two weeks with some trade deals, lens sales and an odd surprise check in my mailbox that I had no idea was coming. It was all there, lined up for me…like it was meant to be. I always tell people who life is short and you have to live it, so… I bought it and I now have the M 240 once again in my hands and it feels good. I really did miss this camera along with the color shooting with a Leica. The Monochrom is a masterpiece but shooting only B&W for the past month for me was not fully cutting it. I have learned that I crave a mixture of both B&W and color as not every shot I want to take works in B&W and not every shot is best in color. I realized this a couple of weeks back when I rented a Leica M-E for a few days. I missed the Leica color experience :)

What I do with every camera that comes through my hands..the mirror shot. I do this because I have been doing it for 15 years and have a collection of them. When I am 80 it will be fun to look back at them all :)

The 1st shot with a classic 50 Summitar attached at 1.5

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So yea, I sat there and made excuses as to why I made the choice. I posted about this on my Facebook Wall and had those who were upset because many thought I found one at a dealer through “special connections” which was not true at all. It was luck. When you run a large blog such as this you are indeed in a way connected, but not to manufacturers and dealers..instead, I am connected to the thousands of readers here who frequent this site and it just so happened one of them decided against the M 240 and I was able to take it off of his hands. Some of you will ask “why didn’t you just buy a used M9” ? Well, after using the M-E last week it made me appreciate the new M even more. I much prefer it along with the color and the files it produces.

As I always say, everything always works out in the end.

It has been a wonderful past few days. My buddy Ashwin Rao just got engaged and is happier than ever, I am planning a trip with my fiancée next week to spend some fun and quality time with her, the Palouse road trip is inching closer, my Son is excited about his trip to Japan in June, I am stress free and the M is back in my stable :) I am surrounded by happiness, and that is one of the secrets to a happy life!

I wrote this post for those of you who would be wondering why I am posting images from the M 240 again when it was sold a month ago, not to make any of you waiting for your own M upset or jealous. I also wrote it to let all of you who are waiting for your own M to know that my 2nd body was not obtained through any special dealer or Leica connection, but through a little luck, a load of cash and an awesome reader of this site.

PS – Those vintage lenses I have been testing look great on the M 240 so far!

The old Leica Summarit 1.5 on the M. A $500 lens with classic glow, bokeh and rendering. Soft in all the right places for the vintage vibe. 

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My recommended sources for the M or the MM:

Ken Hansen – Email him at [email protected]

PopFlash.com – They may have a MM in stock now, and they have the cool A&A straps in stock as well. 

The Pro Shop – They may also have an MM now and they may have a short M list, not sure. Call them at 561.253.2606

Dale Photo

B&H Photo 

$$$$ if you spend a fortune on the Leica body and want to get quality lenses while saving loads of cash I recommend some of the Voigtlander lenses like the 35 1.2 II, 50 1.5, and 21 1.8 at CameraQuest.com

Apr 252012
 

Great Fuji X-Pro 1 Review by a street shooter…

and some ramblings.

By Steve Huff

Hey guys! Check this out…I stumbled upon this review today from Rinzi Ruiz on the X-Pro 1. I met Rinzi at my LA Workshop and was drawn to his style of shooting. At the workshop he was shooting with a Fuji X100 and even while I had my Leica M9 he out shot me on the streets with his little X100, which goes to show once again, it’s not the camera, it’s the photographer. I do not claim to be a street shooting pro so I learned a bit from watching him that weekend. He waited for the right light. He calculated all of the details in his head before firing the shutter. I loved the way he used light to get his shots..which in fact created a style for him. Like I said, he has shot the X100 for a while and still owns it but now he seems to be loving his X-Pro 1. if you want another take on it besides mine, check out his real world shooter review of the camera HERE on his blog. He seemed to find the same issues I did with the lens chatter and slow AF but it didn’t stop him from loving the camera. Nice read and just how I like my reviews…non technical. 

I’m still shooting the X-Pro 1, and yes, I like the camera

It seems the last couple of Olympus articles i posted stirred up some controversy from one or two Fuji shooters who said I was  being unfair to the X-Pro 1 by comparing video to the Olympus. When I do these things I do not think of “fair or unfair” – I think “Hey, both cameras shoot video, let’s see how it goes in the same situations” and then I post my findings here for all of you to read! It not only entertains myself, but many of you as well and the best part is…it’s all free! Lol.

No need to get mad if I prefer camera A to camera B. These ramblings are just my thoughts after all and a camera is a personal choice. I am like a movie reviewer. You may not like what I like, period. Even though I say that, I do like the X-Pro 1 and have considered buying one on a few occasions just because of the IQ. The Fuji does have some soul and it is a unique kind of soul. Which is good. I just wish it was a little less expensive. I am happy Fuji has released the FW update though as it shows they are serious about getting these little quirks ironed out.

The rendering and color of the OOC JPEGS are so nice…this is with the 35 1.4 wide open

With the X-Pro 1, it is all about the IQ and great sensor.  If you can look past the sluggish AF in lower light or for fast action then you are good to go. To be clear, I have zero complaints with the IQ of  the X-Pro 1 and am happy Fuji fixed the lens chatter issue with the last FW update.

The Olympus OM-D review is coming!

The OM-D. Yes, I have really been enjoying using this camera. Why? Because I have yet to find any flaws besides the small cheap-ish buttons on the back. You can not get the same look IQ wise that you can get with the Fuji but like I mentioned in a previous article, choosing a camera and sensor is like choosing film stock. The little Olympus seems to have a lot going for it. Build, speed, lenses, feel, and IQ. It even does fantastic in low light and high ISO, more than I could ever need. SO what would hold someone back from the OM-D? Well, the fact that cameras like the NEX-7 exists for about the same cost. Which do I prefer? I won’t say here but you will see a comparison of the two in my review. The Zeiss 24 and NEX-7 against the OM-D and 12mm f/2. Not the same focal lengths of course but closest I can come to it. The sensor in the new E-M5 is so good for M4/3 but even so you will not get that overall “richness’ that you get from full frame or good APS-C’s. With that said, this is the best feeling mirrorless camera to date for me when it comes to actual use and usability. Review will be soon as I am taking a week-long vacation next week to visit family in Illinois and will be taking it along with me :) So far, so good.

an edited JPEG converted to B&W using Alien Skin Exposure – 45 1.8 at 2.8 – OM-D – click for larger

Dramatic Art Filter in B&W – OOC JPEG

OOC JPEG Color

Jul 272011
 

 The image above of me was shot by Ed Tan in Seattle. Thanks again Ed!

Site news, Updates, Google +, NEX 5 & 7, E-P3, and a Mish Mosh of Information…

More Workshops Coming…

Happy Tuesday to all! Just wanted to post and say that I have a bunch of stuff in the works and I am finally recovered from my busy month on tour with Seal and then the Seattle Workshop weekend. The workshop was FANTASTIC and I have been getting feedback from the group, which is great to hear. Thanks one more time to everyone who participated in the weekend. Speaking of workshops, I have plans to set up 2-3 more and once again, will add to them with more instruction, more critique and more hands on/visual things like technique, overcoming street shooting fears, etc. Look out for San Francisco, Chicago, Las Vegas, Southern California, and yes…maybe even Paris. These will be the next locations and announcements will come soon. If any of you live in the Las Vegas, Chicago or San Fran area and would like to help out with hosting, guest speaking, etc then e-mail me. Also…with the help of Roger Paperno and Ashwin Rao we may be doing a week long workshop throughout Europe…sort of a “luxury” workshop :) If this happens I will share the amazing details soon.

But here is a question, and feel free to leave a comment with your answer. If you would be interested in participating in a workshop in San Francisco, Chicago, Las Vegas or Southern California then let me know. I will schedule these events around interest. Also, no need to shoot Leica to attend! All cameras and skill levels are welcome, just like they are here at this site!

Just a coulpe of  the e-mails I received in the last two days about Seattle…

“Thanks again for opening up your home to us for the weekend.  It was such a great time, the most fun I’ve had in a workshop.   Meeting all of the Leica shooters and learning from you guys was worth making the trip up to Seattle.  My studio is open to you guys when you plan a Southern California workshop, so please let me know when you’re planning your world tour. – Todd Hatakeyama”

“Steve & Ashwin: Thanks so much for hosting and presenting a superb gig (not quite sure what to call it – a mixture of workshop, meetup and pissup (that’s Aussie for good time with beer involved)). I had a great time and picked up many useful tips and tricks. Thanks again. Cheers Peter”

Love that he called it a mixture of a workshop, meetup and pissup! Awesome as that is just what it was :) Lots of passionate photographers who wanted to get out there and shoot with others who are just like them. Here is a page you have to see, Ashwin’s post with his have images from the weekend. Enjoy!

Social Netoworking Insanity…now join me on Google +

Just when I thought I was all set up with Facebook and Twitter, along comes Google +. So yes, now you can join me on Google + which seems like it will be “the place to hang” really soon and it also appears there is a growing community there already of Leica shooters so be sure and get over there and JOIN ME HERE, add me to your circle! Also, if you haven’t already feel free to “Like” me on Facebook! Every “like” helps. All you have to do is go here and press LIKE! It is not a “friend” request, just a like :) Finally my Twitter page is HERE and my YOUTUBE videos can be subscribed to HERE. Oh! How can I forget my RSS feed? See what I mean? All of this Social Networking..INSANITY! Remember the old days before the internet? Hahaha.

More Reviews Coming…

So….right now I have a Canon 5D MKII and 50L that I am messing with. My goal was to do a “Crazy Comparison” between it and the M9/Noctilux/Summilux combo. Ive taken a few shots for this but will be heading on a trip next week for 7 days (Going to visit Chicago) where I will get the bulk of the shooting done. Should be interesting. I mentioned in another post or comment that the 5D files seemed more “flat” or “lifeless”. Well, upon closer inspection, and with some tweaks it is getting closer :)

5D MARK II AND 50 L WIDE OPEN AT 1.2

Also, I am going to review the NEW MICRO 4/3 Olympus E-P3 soon and ALSO show a video overview of the new NEX-5 features that were recently added via firmware, especially the focus peaking which in my short experience has been working great. Speaking of the NEX series…what about the supposedly upcoming Sony NEX-7. Did you guys see this one? An EVF included in the body. YES! Looks mighty interesting!

Even more NEX coming soon. I have been shooting with the new SLR Magic 28 2.8 NEX E mount lens and will even be giving this lens away in a contest at the end of this week. Ill be posting my review soon, again, I need more images to evaluate it. Also, you heard it here first…something super delicious is coming soon…something really cool. Damn, thats all I can say :)

So the Canon/Leica comparison, the E-P3, the NEX-5 Focus Peaking, and the SLR Magic 28 2.8 all coming REALLY soon! Hoping I can get the new Oly 12 f/2 to test as well. In many ways it looks interesting, and in some not so much so.

So there you go, the latest happenings here at the site and in my home! Haha…be sure to check back a bit later today for a really cool Daily Inspiration! Until then, get out and shoot!

Steve

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Jun 022011
 

News, Updates, Announcements and more!

Hello everyone! Happy Thursday! I am sitting here drinking my morning coffee, sitting in my big comfy office chair and realizing that in less than two weeks I will be heading out across Europe to shoot the Summer Seal tour. This will be a 5 week stint for me and I am hoping to get some nice street shooting in while traveling as well. I plan on bringing my M9 along with a 24 Lux, 35 cron, 50 Noct and 90 cron. These lenses will be perfect for shooting the shows. Notice I added the 24 Lux to the mix this time. I think it will do incredible for live shows to get more audience interaction in the frames.

I will also be bringing along a Fuji X100 and maybe a NEX for video. Not sure just yet. I did just order a new camera flight bag from Think Tank. A roller bag. Last tour I was lugging around this huge camera bag on my shoulder with loads of gear, laptop, ipad, etc. This time I will be rolling along in style with THIS LITTLE GUY. I checked it out in a shop and the quality was fantastic. This way I can save my shoulders and back, and be able to carry all of my gear on the plane. Perfect! I spent two months searching for the perfect bag for flying with my gear and this was the one I ended up with. It is small, but can pack in loads of gear. I’ll fit TWO M9’s, the 4 lenses, the X100 and a NEX. I will have my shoulder bag for my laptop, ipad, cables, chargers, snacks and one camera, most likely the X100.

While I am on the tour, updates may be sporadic as there will be days where I will be without internet access. I plan on doing some street shooting articles, some guest posts, more daily inspirations and of course a few highlights from select Seal shows. Should be interesting. If any of you reading this would like to write a guest article or User Report, just email me and lets talk!

Speaking of the Fuji X100


THE FUJI X100! It appears that Fuji is going to release a new firmware for the X100 really soon, as they announced they will be doing so to correct for issues brought up in the DPreview review. When will they release it? Hopefully soon. I think if they correct some of the quirkiness that came along with the camera then it will be even harder to find in stock. So far, it has been the hottest camera of the year. Fuji dumped their Digital SLR line after the S5 pro and with the success of this X100, I think it sends a message that many of us want high quality in a small package. Retro looks? Even better! Can’t wait to see what they do with the firmware. B&H SELLS THE X100 HERE.

Sony NEX news…

The little camera that could. The NEX-5 is one of the most versatile small cameras on the market today. It has a large APS-C sensor and has the capability to mount just about any lens (with the correct adapters). It’s kit lenses have been hit and miss but there are plenty of NEX users getting gorgeous results with various lenses. The camera is small, sleek and once you get used to the menu system it is a great system. Too bad there are no real fast wider options for it. The X100 has the 35mm equiv f/2, tough to get on the Sony unless you mount a Leica 24 Summilux to the little NEX :)

But its all about SIZE and this girl “gets it”. Look at her video and see how small it is next to a Canon 5d! Wow.

I am also hearing there will be a new NEX-5 firmware release any day now that adds a slew of fun photo filters, much like the art filters of the PEN series. From what I see, Sony is getting a little more advanced though with cool color effects, posterization effects, and even a cool retro look. Should be fun.

If some of you missed this, it appears there was a leaked image of a new Sony NEX C3 which is replacing the now discontinued NEX-3..

While it looks a little cooler than the NEX-3, not sure if I like the new rounded look and monster flash but I am sure many will. Supposedly, this little guy is supposed to hit any day now. Rumors had it for a May release.

Fun Links of the week…

Has anyone ever seen the work of Spencer Tunick? He shoots nudes and is famous for gathering hundreds or thousands of people into his photos shoots, all nude. I have seen his two HBO documentaries and found his work quite interesting. He is now getting ready for his next project, a large scale nude shoot at the Dead Sea.

This couple had custom wedding rings made to mimic the look of a classic Leica lens.

Wow, love this guys site. Not only some of the most beautiful photography I have seen in a while, he shoots a ton with a Fuji X100. If you want to REALLY see what an X100 can do, visit his site NOW and check out his posts from the past weeks.

Don’t forget to visit my Facebook fan page for this site and click LIKE!

Leica announces RECORD SALES for 2011. So much for those old timers on other sites saying Leica needs to modernize their M’s for profits. As I stated a month or two ago, Leica has been raking in the sales in 2011 and IMO will continue to do so with the plans they have laid out. Go Leica!

For those who think the M9 is expensive…what about the ridiculously priced SIGMA SD1. $9700?? Insanity. This is SIGMA…Their 15MP DSLR (that they claim is 46MP) without a lens…$9700. $2700 more than an M9 that already can come close  to MF quality with the right lens, and is much more portable. Hmmm. Who is buying one?

Was just over at lensrentals.com and found that they have some of the hottest Leica lenses available, in stock, to rent. This is a great way to try out lenses like the Noctilux, 35 Summilux, 50 Summilux, or whatever you want to try! They even have the Zeiss 50 Sonnar 1.5. Check out their Leica pages! I personally can vouch for their service, they are the best online rental service I have come across, and they are a site sponsor as well!

Speaking of site sponsors, Dale Photo has the hot little Leica 35 Summarit in stock. These days it is TOUGH to find ANY Leica glass in stock, even the Summarits! This is a great lens and cheap by Leica standards.

Ken Hansen also usually has Leica glass in stock. One of the top Leica dealers, Ken is my go to guy these days when I need something Leica. He has yet to ever let me down! You can e-mail Ken at [email protected] for availability of whatever you are looking for in the land of Leica.

Oh, and do check out the all new Forums on this site! Started from scratch about two weeks ago and so far so good! It will take some time to get rolling but there are so many knowledgable people that come to this site, and there are also others who need that knowledge :) The forums are a great place to share it! Also, if you want an Avatar to show up on this site when you post in the comments or the forums, go get your gravatar! . Once you do, your avatar will show up here, in the forums, and on other blogs and sites! Only takes a couple of minutes!

Upcoming Articles

Coming in the next two weeks… A new article from David Babsky and by popular demand, a comparison between the Fuji X100 and Leica M9 with 35 Summicron. So many have e-mailed asking for this and again, these are two totally different camera systems that shoot much differently in real use. BUT, to please you, the readers, I will do a “Crazy Comparison” between the two. Should be fun :)

There will also be the new SLR Magic 28 2.8 lens review for the NEX system and a couple really cool guest reports. Of course there will be the daily inspiration posts as well. So check back daily for something new and fun in the world of photography! Until next time!

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