20 January 2017, Friday
New: Orlit lighting.
Digital Medium Format — is it?
First of all, only the Pentax is real; neither of the other are shipping yet.
I prefer my Canon 5DSR. It has the same resolution, it's far easier to use and handle, it's much faster, and is part of a far more complete, flexible and mature system for those of us who have to shoot for a living today.
We'll see, but I suspect Canon's development budget lets it have better performance than the simple mechanical advantage of the garage-shop brands Pentax, Hasselblad and Fuji.
Businessmen understand this, but artists don't. Specs and camera price have little to do with how well something actually works. Far more important is how much time, people and money any given company has to put into the development of what actually goes inside a camera.
Canon is a huge corporation with huge budgets and almost limitless resources. They can afford to spend a lot of resources to develop technologies which they then share among all of their huge product line, and they sell so much that even a huge development cost gets distributed over many, many individual cameras. Thus for a low price Canon can sell superior products over LEICA; this is 2017, not 1957.
Once-impressive names like Hasselblad, LEICA, Pentax and Fuji have nowhere near the sales volume of Canon. They have fewer sales, and fewer resources. A camera that costs $10,000 from LEICA or Hasselblad is still primitive compared to what we get from Canon for $999.
Apple is the biggest company on the planet. Apple sells 50 billion dollars more each year than General Motors! That's why they can and do throw so many smart people and resources into the iPhone, and explains why iPhone photos so maddeningly often look better than what we take with other brands of camera.
Critical to the nerd questions about pixels, it's very difficult to elicit the very best performance from any sensor unless you really know what you are doing. Canon (along with Nikon and Apple) gets much better colors from their sensors than anyone else does; the smaller brands get different results from each camera as they learn.
The only advantage any of these medium format experiments is that they have larger sensors, but when I get one to test, I'm expecting 50/50 that Canon's technicnology advantage may trump the mechanical advantage of the larger sensors. The 5DSR may outperform the other medium format cameras. We'll see.
What we do know is that the Canon costs much less, and that most of us already own all on the lenses we need for it today.
There are no real digital medium format cameras. $50,000 will get you a "small" medium format sensor the size of the girly-man medium format, 645 (6x4.5 cm).
The gotcha with these circa $10,000 medium format cameras is that they aren't close to real medium format (6x6cm). These little medium format sensors are all only 33x44mm, nowhere near the 56x56mm actual size of real medium format.
While real medium format is 56x56mm (3,136 square mm), these little medium format cameras are only 33x44mm, or 1,452 square mm — less than half the area of real medium format!
Full frame is 24x36mm, so 33x44mm isn't that much bigger. I'll take all the lenses and flash and support I have for my Canons or Nikons any day over blowing tens of thousands of dollars on a small brand's near-medium format experiment — but we'll see as soon as I get one.
I call 33x44m "mezzo" format, halfway between medium format and 35mm.
Nikon? I love my D810, but it's still a sub-50 megapixel camera. Nikon's not at this party yet.
19 January 2017, Thursday
Two new ways to spend $6,500:
LEICA M10 und APO-SUMMICRON 50/2.
NEU: LEICA M10.
Thank God LEICA ditched the old overweight M240; the M10 brings us back to normal size, weight and model numbers befitting a LEICA M. The M240 now can be cast off with other rubbish like the bloated 1970's M5 to the trash can of history. Good riddance!
New GFX Medium Format System
51 MP, 43.8mm x 32.9mm CMOS sensor with the correct 4:3 aspect ratio, yes! (0.79x crop factor; 54.8mm diagonal).
Fujifilm EVF-TL1 EVF Tilt Adapter - $569.00.
Fujifilm RLCP-002 Rear Lens Cap - $12.99.
Fujifilm BCP-002 Body Cap - $12.99.
New X100F Camera
New X-T20 X-Mount Camera
24MP, 5 FPS.
New X-Mount 50mm Lens
IN STOCK: DJI Inspire 2 Quadcopter.
Manfrotto MBSB390-5BB Backpack: $29.95 (Reg $79), with free shipping.
Brenthaven Collins laptop shoulder bag: $19.95 (Reg $59), with free shipping.
Canon MF726CDW Laser Printer: $274.99 (Reg $399), with free shipping.
Flashpoint Bi-Color On-Camera Light: $39.95 (Regular $100), with free shipping.
17 January 2017, Tuesday
HOT DEAL: Nikon D5 for $5,199.99.
This is brand-new and from a well-rated seller. It's $1,300 off because it's gray market, meaning that it's the same Nikon D5, but instead of a real Nikon USA warranty, the seller offers their own warranty.
For $100 off I wouldn't touch this, but for a $1,300 discount on a brand-new D5, I'd take the chance.
Friday the 13th, January 2017
Nikon D750 & 24-120mm: $2,397.
Fujifilm X-T2 & Grip: $1,699.
Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 23mm f/2: $1,899.
Sony A77 II: $998.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4: $1,198.
Olympus PEN-F: $999.
10 January 2017, Tuesday
Canon 70-300mm IS II.
I kid you not: this lens autofocuses instantly!
It's so much better than every consumer telephoto zoom that it is now the world's best consumer telephoto. Whoo hoo, and it sells for a bargain price.
Canon just hit it out of the park with this one.
People keep asking me, and my version 3.6 of Apple Aperture seems to be working just fine on my Mac Pro (Late 2013) on the latest OS 10.12.2.
Otherwise I don't shoot raw, and so I rarely use Aperture.
When I do use Aperture, my biggest problem is remembering how to use it, and helping it find wherever I've moved my projects.
American Express promotion
Adorama is running a promotion with American Express.
Spend a total of $250 get $25 back as a one-time statement credit from now until February 22, 2017.
You find this under "my offers" in your account with most Amex cards. Once the offer is "added to card" all you need to do is pay with your American Express Card at checkout. Whoo hoo!!!!!
Manfrotto 190Go! Tripod & Manfrotto MVH502AH Video Head: $229.88 (Reg $349), with free shipping.
Manfrotto PIXI Evo Mini Tripod: $24.88 (Reg $49.88), with free shipping.
Serious home theatre deals:
(2) Polk LSiM 707 Floorstanding Speakers, (2) LSiM 703 Bookshelf Speakers & one LSiM 706C Center Speaker: $2,799.99 (Regular $6,699), also in cherry, all with free shipping.
(2) Polk LSiM 707 Floorstanding Speakers, (2) LSiM 703 Bookshelf Speakers, one LSiM 706C Center Speaker & (2) LSiM 702 F/X Surround Speakers: $3,299.99 (Reg $8,199), also in cherry, all with free shipping.
The beauty of these systems is that you have two full-range speakers for front left and front right, so you set up the bass management in your receiver accordingly and retain stereo bass, compared to only having mono bass of using a single subwoofer. While bass tends to be nondirectional, the reality is that we can hear the direction from which it's coming from a woofer; you need stereo woofers or subwoofers if you're serious. These setups work great for music as well as movies.
09 January 2007, iPhone Introduction
Ten years of iPhone
Ten years ago today Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone.
When I catch up with old friends, we speak of the time before the iPhone as if it were ancient history — because it is.
Today, my iPhone 7 Plus has an extraordinary camera. It gives better results on the first shot more often than any other camera. It has better exposure, better white balance and better color than any other camera at its default settings. In its Portrait mode, it also has better bokeh than anything else, with super-smooth backgrounds.
While 20% of the photos I make, like shots under moonlight or photos of things a mile away, require a DSLR, 80% of my family, travel, macro and fun photos are best served by the iPhone already in my pocket. Not only are the photos first rate, once snapped on the iPhone, I can edit and distribute them immediately.
Ignore the ignorant who are prejudiced against small cameras. The iPhone easily holds up to, and even betters exotic cameras shot head-to-head. My iPhones certainly take better pictures than my digital LEICAs because the color rendition is far better, and the iPhone is also far better for reportage because it's less visible. With a default ISO of 20 and premium fixed high-speed optics, the iPhone makes super-clean photos better than compact point-and-shoots that default to ISO 100.
My iPhone 6s Plus ran at 10 frames per second continuously at 12 MP. I presume my 7 Plus is at least as fast for action.
If you're serious about photography, you deserve an iPhone 7 Plus. Did you know it has three complete cameras? It has one on the screen for FaceTime, and two on the back: one for wide shots with a 28mm (eq.) f/1.8 lens, and another with a 56mm (eq.) f/2.8 lens, each of which is seamlessly selected as you zoom.
06 January 2017, Friday
Canon EF 24-105mm f/4 L II.
Great optics, but big and heavy.
How crazy is this? Kodak cancelled its slide films in 2012 because they couldn't compete against Fuji's film, which have better colors and much better permanence and resistance to fading, but heck, I can't complain about anyone reintroducing film. I suspect today since most people shooting film don't really know what's going on, they'll just think "cool, I'm so retro; look at my goatee!" and not notice.
I've been waiting for Kodak to make something better than Fuji since 1990, but they never have. The tide was turned one day in the 1980s when a news writer was doing an article about film, and walked down to the newspaper's photo department to ask some questions, and was astounded when they told him that they'd all been shooting Fuji color print film, not Kodak. Kodak always advertised like crazy, while Fuji made better film; pros knew Fuji film, but not the public.
Likewise, I shot some defective TMAX 100 last year, which Kodak never replaced, so I tried Fuji ACROS which is even better. The Japanese are crazy about cameras and film, while Kodak has slowly been going out of business since the 1980s.
Of course every film gives a different look. Which gives your look depends on who you are; one of the reasons I've never shot Ektachrome is that it fades. All my Kodachromes from over 40 years ago still look like the day I got them back from Fairlawn, NJ, while most Ektachrome has faded away over the decades.
It's only to come in one version (Ektachrome always came in many versions) and in only one size, 36 exposure 35mm. This is the most popular, but ever since DSLRs made it to 24MP I haven't shot any 35mm film; I shoot 120 in my Hasselblad. Once DSLRs made it to 24MP from 12MP back around 2012, digital has been better than 35mm film — so I shoot a Hasselblad.
SUPER DEAL: Beyerdynamic DT 1350 Headphones: $119.99 (Original $279.99), with Free shipping. Expires 1/11 or while supplies last. I bought one of these deals and these are among the best headphones I've ever heard at any price. They are for serious listening; they have no remote or mic; just genuine German-made headphones in a portable case. For the same price as others pay for Chinese-made plastic rubbish these are the real pro deal. Get them now at a dime-store price!
FLIR Scout TK Compact Thermal Vision Monocular: $499 (Reg $599), with Free shipping.
Canon MF726CDW Laser Printer & D-Link Wireless Router: $274.99 (Reg $499), w/Free shipping.
Samson MTR101A Condenser Microphone w/Shockmount & Pop Filter: $49.99 (Reg $119.99), with Free shipping.
05 January 2017, Thursday
New at CES
New from Fuji
New Micro 4/3 from Panasonic
04 January 2017, Wednesday
New at CES
Nikon D5600, which also comes as kits with D5600 & w/18-55mm AF-P VR, D5600 & 18-140mm VR and as the D5600, 18-55mm AF-P VR & 70-300mm AF-P (no VR). Also at B&H: D5600, D5600 & 18-55, D5600 & 18-140 and D5600, 18-55 & 70-300.
Coolpix? Really? And they say Nikon has lost touch. Ever heard of an iPhone? I know its a new thing, not barely 10 years old yet, but you've got to be kidding me; my iPhone 7 Plus camera so outperforms any point and shoot (better lenses, better sensor that defaults to ISO 20 for cleaner images and better color rendition under every kind of light), and does so much more than a point and shoot once you have your image captured. Geeze!
02 January 2017, Monday
New Year, New Gear
I'm working on reviews of the Canon 70-300 USM II (superb, with the fastest autofocus of any consumer telephoto lens ever — a new benchmark!), Canon EOS M5 (great images but slow handling) and EF-M 15-45mm (perfect little lens for mirrorless), and the Canon 24-105 IS L II (very good but big and heavy, so why do we want it over the original 24-105?).
Those reviews are all under construction, so no need to go following all those links in any detail.
New Year, New Deals.
Induro GIT204 Carbon Fiber Tripod: $349 (Reg $525), with Free shipping.
Timbuk2 Messenger Bag: $79 (Reg $149), with Free shipping.
Tenba Messenger Bag: $49.95 (Reg $126), with Free shipping; while supplies last.
Hubsan H107D+ FPV X4 Plus Drone: : $79 (Reg $119) with Free shipping, while supplies last.
Fender Passport 150W Monitors: $219.99 the pair (Reg $599), with Free shipping.
Senal SMH-1200 - Enhanced Studio Monitor Headphones: $99 (reg. $149).
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