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Current California Radiation Levels moved to the bottom of my Reviews page.

 

Adorama pays top dollar for your used gear.

B&H Photo - Video - Pro Audio
I use these stores. I can't vouch for ads below.

30 June 2011, Thursday

OLD NEWS: It's never about your camera

I got a nice letter from fine artist and graphic designer Gina Penney. Look at her stuff; it's great, and better, her site design is clean and to-the-point.

She read my Two Kinds of Photographers article, and got the Aha!

She had been trying to find advice on what kind of camera to get in various "forums," but found mostly bad creative advice and an overwhelming tendency to get caught up in technical minutiae with very little to show for it. The breadth of technical knowledge was amazing, but the proliferation of fabulous photos? Not much.

She'll keep using her little old D5000 and keep on making cool images, while forum posters poke fun of the beginners. While they're racking up posts in the tens of thousands, she'll be out shooting. We all should be.

 

Pentax K1000 Motor Drive

Pentax K1000 with Motor Drive. bigger.

NEWS: World's only K1000 with Motor Drive, for sale.

 

29 June 2011, Tuesday

NEW: I added another day's worth of photos to yesterday's gallery of San Diego photos.

I got my film back from the lab and added shots from the Nikon N8008s and LEICA M3 on Croatian-made film.

 

NEWS: LEICA offers new firmware for the old M8.

 

28 June 2011, Tuesday

Face of the Alien

Face of the Alien, Oceanside Pier.

NEW: Photos from this weekend's tour of San Diego.

What we did this weekend.

 

27 June 2011, Monday

NEWS: Fuji X100 Firmware v. 1.10.

It was easy to update, and I didn't have to install any of Fuji's software on my Mac, as the instructions implied. (To check your version, hold DISP BACK as you turn on your X100.)

I don't see anything significant changed in v1.10, although the upgrade process is so retarded that it bombs all your settings back to the stone age. Not only do you need to reset all your menu settings, you even have to reset the date, clock and languages as if you got a brand-new camera! Nikon and Canon, as I recall, are smart enough only to update the firmware, not brainwash your entire camera.

The most interesting changes are claimed improved shadows in the Velvia and Astia modes (they sucked so bad before that they were useless), and a claim of improved AF area location in the finder at close distances with the optical finder.

The Velvia and Astia modes still clip the shadows, so they still stink. I get better results by adding saturation later to standard JPGs than I do in the Velvia or Astia modes, unless you want black, blank shadows. Add 30% saturation in Photoshop to a Provia (standard) X100 JPG and you're there, but with your shadows. If you want more zip, use a curves layer to darken the shadows, but not clip them to nothing (click at 128/128 to keep mids the same, and drag it down at 25% to darken, but not clip, shadows).

The way Fuji implemented the moving the AF area to compensate for parallax is laughably bad as well!

In v1.01, the optical finder moved the frame as you focused more closely, but not the AF area. Oops! Well, in the new firmware you can enable the AF area to move, and it does if you set SET-UP > CORRECTED AF FRAME > ON, but this update is so poorly done that the finder is now always littered with two closely-located AF areas on top of each other, and when you go to shoot, often a third one laid on top of the other two. WHOOPS! I leave this off and guess. Done properly, the AF frame would just move, and not litter the finder with "maybes."

The optical finder frame still moves back to the infinity position any time you let off the shutter, even locked at a closer distance in manual focus. It is supposed to move and stay at the closer distance anytime the X100 is focussed closer, as does LEICA. As-is today, you have to half-press the X100 shutter at closer distances, otherwise the finder frame is wrong.

All said and done, the X100 seems pretty idiotic in its software, but in actual shooting, my X100 is far smoother than my D7000 or any Canon, Nikon or LEICA because the X100 shoots oh so well.

This firmware foolishness doesn't affect actual shooting. The exposure, fill-flash, auto white balance and focus of the X100 are always so much better over a much broader range of conditions than any of my other digital cameras that there is much less shot-to-shot fiddling, which is what makes the X100 my favorite camera today. I no longer have to check exposure after each shot; gone are the days of looking at the screen after each shot. Auf Wiedersehen, LEICA, for day-to-day street shooting.

 

24 June 2011, Friday

D5100 or D7000?

I still get this question a lot. People lose all sorts of sleep sweating over the details of this or that, but the choice is clear.

If you're the sort of person who sweats the details, worries about setting your White Balance trims and flash exposure compensations, owns 27 lenses and tweaks every menu setting, then of course you deserve the D7000. If you're the sort of person who's reading this page every day, you want the D7000, no doubts about it.

On the other hand, if you 're a normal person (not the sort who would be reading this page), just want great pictures and couldn't care less about all your settings and gizmos, then you obviously will prefer the price and lighter weight of the D5100.

They each have the same sensor and the same technical and artistic image quality. The pictures are indistinguishable from one to the other. The difference is the camera into which sensor is put, and how heavy and how many AF points and direct controls, instead of menus, it has.

 

23 June 2011, Thursday

Soap Box Derby!

I've known my best friend Skip since high school. He was the first person on Earth ever to see this website back in 1999 because he was the only person who could figure out how to get my server to start broadcasting this site. He was the first person in history to hit refresh and see this site, instead of a 404 message, and it is to him we all owe a bit of thanks for making this site a reality. He is also the one who helped me figure out how to make a site in the first place, and the rest is history.

The Soap Box Derby was invented in 1934 by photojournalist Myron Scott of Dayton, Ohio. Mr. Scott covered a local race, copyrighted the idea (I have no idea how he did that, as ideas aren't copyrightable) and then developed it into a national program.

Skip's son Declan is a Soapbox Derby champion, and is so good that he's been invited to race at the nationals in Akron Ohio in July.

Like most racers, he needs help and sponsorship to get his car and family to Ohio from San Diego to fulfill this once-in-a-lifetime dream.

Can you help, too? I have.

Thanks!

Ken.

 

Apt Holman Preamplifier

The Apt Holman Preamplifier.

NEW: Apt Holman Preamplifier Review.

Is it the world's greatest stereo preamplifier? Possibly, and I even had time to sneak in a few measurements, including the world's first published tests of a headphone amplifier's performance driving actual headphones, not just resistive loads.

I have a friend who works for one of the cell-phone design companies here in San Diego and I now get to visit their lab now and then to run tests. I'm actually playing around to get my test procedures down, so I can eventually do world-class evaluations of DACs and ADCs and etc. for the future of computer audio.

 

22 June 2011, Wednesday

Who Cares: Lytro

Lytro's PR engine is working overtime getting the innocent excited about another technically interesting, but irrelevant, technology.

Lytro claims to have a camera sensor technology coming that captures not just intensity at each point on the sensor, but also direction. This, and only after using a whole lot of computer power to process all the vector data, lets one choose focus after the fact. It's like a raw file that still hasn't been focused.

So?

Compact and cell-phone cameras already get everything in focus, and every other camera focuses just fine, all without needing all the computational overhead of the Lytro system.

Just like the Foveon sensor whose inventors told us it would change the world, but forgot that it has a basic problem with light sensitivity, the many pitfalls of the Lytro system are yet to be seen. Most likely, it will also have a problem with quantum efficiency (high ISOs) because it is critical for it to resolve direction in addition to simply intensity at each point.

I see these things all the time. We can forget about it until someone actually has a product to sell, and then we can evaluate it on its own merit. The best and only thing Lytro has to pitch as an advantage is the ability to set focus after the picture is taken, but for that one minor advantage, there are a huge number of yet unknown disadvantages.

Considering that the people who most need this, casual cell-phone snappers, need it least because those cameras have huge depths-of-field, I wouldn't invest in this.

The theory is here, but we need real cameras, not hypotheses.

My lab and mind are always open to look at anything, but based on the PR, this is a yawner so far.

Wake me when something interesting arrives, like the new LEICA 21mm lens, or Fuji starts shipping the X100 in quantity.

 

21 June 2011, Tuesday

NEU: LEICA SUPER-ELMAR-M 21mm f/3.4 ASPH.

Finally, a small 21mm lens from LEICA.

E46 filters, 279 g, 0.7m close-focus, party time!

 

NEU: LEICA M9-P.

Same as the M9, with the sapphire screen Leica removed from the M8 when it introduced the M9 in order to give themselves this upgrade path as we predicted them to do back in 2009 when they cheated us out of the sapphire that the M8 had.

Leica is getting like the Japanese: two steps forward (full-frame and no IR filters needed), and one step back for future upgrades (remove the sapphire cover in 2009 so they can add it in 2011 and claim something new).

Yawn; wait for the FUJI X100. It's much quieter, faster focusing, has a decades-better finder, half the weight and half the distortion of an M9-P ünd 35/2 ASPH.

The LEICA SUPER-ELMAR-M 21mm f/3.4 ASPH more than makes up for the boring M9-P, while hobby photographers are probably more interested in the M9-P.

 

20 June 2011, Monday

Fuji X100

Wow: I just noticed that my Fuji X100 is so smart in manual focus that I don't have to hold the AFL button to get it to spot-focus; all I have to do is tap the button once, and it focuses and locks all by itself!

It's just like the smart ignition switches on better cars: just one short tap, and the car starts itself without having to hold it.

With the X100, one tap is all it takes and the X100 does the rest.

 

Nikon 50mm f/1.8 G

Phase Linear Autocorrelator Model 1000.

NEW: Phase Linear Autocorrelator Review.

If you'd rather not have to sift through all the photography information on this NEWS page, you may reach my audio reviews directly at RockwellAudio.com.

 

19 June 2011, Father's Day

Blasphemy or Reverence?

The greatest tenet of most modern religions is that there is only one true God, and that we must respect Him as such and have no other gods before Him. (precise tenets will vary by location.)

In Photography, LEICA is the best, and Oskar is Its Prophet. The faithful still follow Him. (Again, prophets will vary by religion.)

But what if a Greater God comes? Is it most respectful to follow the old god, or the greater new one? Which god is then the one true God? This would vex monotheists if it were to come.

Sorry for the potentially irreverent preface, but it just dawned on me that the Fuji X100 is better at doing what LEICA does best than LEICA does itself! LEICA has flown without competition ever since the 1960s, but times are changing.

LEICA is all about light weight, speed of use, and the ability to capture the decisive moment. Well, my Fuji X100 focuses and handles faster than any of my LEICAs for people photography. The X100 is smaller, smoother and far more quiet, too, and has much, much better color for people shots under any and every light.

As life unfolds unscripted, my X100 lets me capture it better than my LEICA, and my X100 images look better, too, when I'm shooting in the streets than in the controlled light of the studio.

The LEICA has no fully automated fill-flash ability, and if you can get it to go, you have to carry an extra flash, and usually have to set it by hand for each shot. By the time you've set it, the moment's gone. The X100 nails fill-flash, auto white balance and exposure perfectly for every shot, fully automatically.

David and Adina in Pacific Beach

Couple in Pacific Beach. bigger. (unaltered X100 JPG, ISO 2,500, 1/40 at f/2).

I shot this with X100 fill-flash, made with the same unchanged auto settings I use for everything else. The X100 just goes, with no fiddling.

This snap is typical. With the flash ON as usual, the X100 sets everything: exposure, ISO, white balance and flash level to get dead-on results, even at night in a parking lot. (see my settings.) Can your DSLR or LEICA do this, without needing any setting changes from what you do in daylight?

If you're a zone-focus kind of guy, the X100 does that, too, complete with depth-of-field scales — except that the X100 focuses so fast that you don't need to rely on the zone-focus crutch. Leave zone-focus for disposable cameras!

So if the X100 is better than LEICA for street shooting, then which is the best camera? Would it be the Fuji, or is "Fuji" a four-letter F-word to the LEICA faithful?

Yes, the LEICA still rules nature and landscape photography, but for LEICA's traditional market, isn't it Fuji today?

The LEICAMAN's faith never falters, but for photography, won't it be Fuji as soon as they start shipping in bulk? Will it be FUJI and Leica, instead of Fuji and LEICA? Who gets to have their name revered always in capitals?

I'm keeping my LEICA for nature, but for family, the X100's ease-of use, light weight and eye-popping images under every possible light condition — all with no fiddling — continue to astound me.

(for actual religious advise, please consult your religious advisor. Remember, the second tenet of most religions is to worship no physical idols, which means cameras, as gods.)

 

17 June 2011, Friday

DEAL: Adorama's photo lab is having a one-week 15% off sale on 10x10 photo books, plus free shipping on any size book!

 

Nikon 135mm f/2 DC

Nikon 135mm f/2 DC

Nikon 135/2 DC.

DEAL: If you need one of the world's best portrait lenses, I found a used Nikon 135mm f/2 DC, for sale here at eBay at a good price from a great store. I've bought from this store before, and service and product have always been just like new, so I'd go for it. Heck, that store is in Japan, and the items arrived in just a few days when I've used them!

See also see How to Win at eBay, as well as other ones at eBay, to see what a good deal this is on a great lens. They sell fast, so I suspect it will go fast at that price.

 

15 June 2011, Wednesday

DEAL: ScanCafe is offering a $40 discount to new customers, exclusively to you, my dear readers.

To get your discount, use code

ROCKWELL40JUN11

at ScanCafe.com.

It expires June 30th, 2011 and it's good for new customers only.

It's valid for all their regular scanning services, including their new video transfers. It is not valid for value kits, gift boxes, gift card or photo restoration services.

Have fun!

 

15 June 2011, Wednesday

New LEICA M9 Firmware

Version 1.162 awaits the pleasure of your attention.

 

New Fuji X100 Flyer

Fuji has a new glossy X100 flyer. It doesn't say anything, but it's better reading than People Magazine (sorry, Howard).

Warning: like all photo brochures, very few of the photos are actually made with the X100, even if the brochure implies it. In brochures, illustrations are illustrations, not samples.

I remember in the 1990s a pro friend remarked at how shocked another pro friend of hers was when Minolta wanted to license some of her images for use in a Minolta camera brochure. They of course were shot on Nikon, but when the photographer asked Minolta about how they could do such a thing, it was explained to her that photos in brochures are illustrations, not necessarily representative. Heck, I see bogus illustrations all the time!

 

Nikon D7000?

The Nikon D7000 is the world's best DSLR.

I love the Fuji X100, and I prefer the pictures I get from it for photos of my family. Snapping photos in dim restaurants and at home under dimmed incandescent light (the best light for living), the X100 always gives great pictures, left at its default Auto WB, Auto ISO and Professional (née Program) exposure mode. Under any light, I point and shoot, and get better photos of my family than I ever got from my DSLRs. Exposure, color and contrast look great, even under light that was unshootable otherwise — and the X100's ergonomics are so much better than a DSLR.

Unlike paid endorsers (anyone you see in a camera ad), I learn as time goes on, and when something even better comes out from a different brand like LEICA, Canon or FUJI, I say so. With digital cameras, the landscape completely changes every few months. Sometimes a new lens will make a camera line completely more viable, or a new body or just firmware suddenly makes what was crappy so much better, like when Canon updated the 5 D Mark II's firmware a couple of years ago and moved the 5D Mark II from zero to hero.

I've been having too much fun photographing my family with the X100 that I haven't gotten bored enough to shoot comparisons for sharpness and high ISO among the D7000 with a 24mm f/1.4 ASPH or 24mm f/2, D3 with a 35mm f/2, (or 24-70mm AFS, but it doesn't compete: it's a stop slower), and of course a LEICA M9 mit 35mm f/2 SUMMICRON-M ASPH. It ought to be an interesting race among these equivalent cameras and lenses — but who cares: the X100's real-world people photos look better without having to get out the magnifying glass, and the X100 costs less than any of these other cameras, and the X100 comes with a free f/2 ASPH lens!

The DSLR isn't going away any any more than newspapers went away when radio got popular in the 1920s, or any more than film is going away after digital got popular with amateurs in 2004.

Everything fills whatever applications it serves well. Even as newer technologies arrive that may be better at some things, the older technologies stick around doing whatever they do best.

The funny thing is that SLRs are much newer than viewfinder cameras, and viewfinder cameras, like LEICAs, have always been tops for portability and general photography.

I prefer shooting with one lens, and that's the X100. Most of you seem to feel naked if you don't walk out the door humping at least ten pounds of lenses, and for you folks, SLRs still rule.

 

Nikon 50mm f/1.8 G

Nikon 50mm f/1.8 G.

NEW: Nikon 50mm f/1.8 G (FX) Review.

Another great 50mm lens.

Nikon currently makes five 50mm lenses, and they're all great, but work differently on different cameras. Yes, Nikon's fastest lens in production today is still the 50mm f/1.2 AI-s, along now with AF-D and AF-S G versions of the f/1.8 and f/1.4 lenses, totaling five.

 

NEW: Think Tank Speed Demon 2.0

NEW: Think Tank Speed Freak 2.0

NEW: Think Tank Speed Racer 2.0

The world's best waist bags just got better, and we can order them now directly from factory stock at those links. As a deal sweetener, readers have told me that Think Tank is throwing in a free small cable bag with each order, which if it's the same bag I have, is an awesome zippered thing with a window on it I use for storing all my chargers while on the road. You'll have to see Think Tank for particulars.

These new bags are even better than before as they add a gusseted front pocket (it was flat before) and a genuinely smart way to stash the waist belt if you prefer to use the bag with the included shoulder belt instead. The new bags also have nicer zipper pulls, thinner main buckles and straps with metal slip-stoppers, and are made of slightly softer material.

If you already have a previous version, you need not go buy a new one, however, these are now the best there is.

I usually use the Speed Demon, the smallest of the three, all the time. The larger Speed Freak is fat enough to hold a couple of big 70-200/2.8s, and I have no idea what a gorilla would put in the huge Speed Racer, but I'm sure you guys do.

 

13 June 2011, Monday

Nikon D7000

My 50/1.8 G just arrived, so I shot my D7000 this weekend. The D7000 still has the defect of making new folders at random; mine made 5 different folders into which my images were recorded. Changing from U1 to U2 seems to cause this — sometimes. This was all as usual while I was out in the field shooting: no connection to a computer or removal of a card. It's a defect in Nikon's firmware, and costs me money when I have to stop what I'm doing and move files and folders around in my computer to compensate for Nikon's defect after I download them.

The 50/1.8 G is great, and is a great deal for $220 (but not as great a deal as the 50/1.8 D for half the price). I have sample snaps up at Ryan and Katie's websites.

It's funny how primitive the D7000 felt after using the Fuji X100 this past week. The D7000, even with just the 50/1.8, is a big heavy piece of plastic around my neck. Why is it so heavy if it's all plastic? The X100 weighs nothing, hewn out of magnesium.

I not only felt like an idiot having to grope at the rear of the D7000 to see playback, I forgot how tiny and dark a 3" LCD appears outdoors compared to the big, brilliant electronic viewfinder playback of the X100. The X100 also has much better exposure control, better people color, and vastly better fill-flash control than Nikon's state-of-the-art, the D7000. It felt really weird having to touch an exposure-compensation control again; the X100 never needs it!

Whatever firmware funnies were obvious when I first got the X100 have now been forgotten. I prefer the X100 to the D7000, even if the X100 weighed as much!

I think the X100 may have cleaner high ISOs, too, but haven't done a head-to-head. I've never noticed grain in the X100 at any speed, but the D7000 seems to have some at even ISO 1,600.

Of course I love my D7000 for what it does well (I forget, I think it has something to do with using lenses I don't need), but for snapping family shots on the weekend, the X100 remains The Professional's Fun Camera. Too bad the only place you can get it today is from scalpers over eBay (see How to Win at eBay), but this will get better as time progresses.

 

11 June 2011, Saturday

DEAL: Nikon 35mm f/1.8 DX for $199 at Amazon.

They originally were $200 at introduction back in 2009, peaked at $300 this spring, and are now down to $199 at Amazon. Of course these prices change every minute.

 

09 June 2011, Thursday

Fuji X100: The World's Most Accurate Color

It just dawned on me, looking at current and older photos at Ryan and Katie's websites, that I'm getting more accurate people-color out of the X100 than I ever have with any other camera. (Test charts don't matter, I'm seeing real-world results, which involve the Auto WB system, metameristics and a whole lot more not considered with test charts.)

My Nikons and Canons are great for my usual photos of landscapes, nature and crapscapes, but looking at my people shots, the X100 easily gives better results in every kind of light. Photographing my kids around the house in mixed dimmed-incandescent and window light, at Price Club under mixed skylight and mercury-vapor, in movie theaters lit by Heaven knows what or photos under dim streetlights, and it always looks great.

The LEICA M9 isn't even in the game; its colors are somewhere else.

After Fuji got burned by basing their SLRs on market-bought Nikon DSLRs, they've instead put all their considerable efforts since 2007 into doing something completely different, which is the X100. The X100 has the sensor and technology that Fuji would have put in a new DSLR, the S6, but instead upgraded to a completely new platform.

The Fuji S5 was popular with wedding shooters, but its problem was that it was jammed into a Nikon D200. By the time Fuji had it ready to sell, Nikon already had the D300 out, thus the S5 was obsolete before you could buy it! If Fuji had asked, I could have told them that Nikon makes new camera models faster than Fuji can redesign them, but no one asked.

In any case, the X100 is what would have been the S6 DSLR, in a much more compact package, with a lens with only half the distortion of the LEICA 35mm f/2 SUMMICRON-M ASPH. How about that!

 

08 June 2011, Wednesday

NEW: How to Get It.

People on the street stop me and are amazed that I have an X100, but I always get the hottest new cameras before the herd, and I don't get any special treatment. How do I do it?

It's not just the X100, it's been this way for decades with every gotta-have-it new camera or lens. Read the secret report now before my wife makes me pull it!

 

06 June 2011, Monday

NEWS: Sigma Gets Sued for Infringing on Nikon's VR patents.

If you bought a Sigma lens, are you liable, too? Another liability of buying cheap copy-cat lenses.

 

Fuji X100

After shooting mine again all weekend, I'm liking it even more as I learn how to work it properly. The X100 is like no SLR and like no LEICA; it's a new beast.

The 5 FPS mode works great for some things, and better than an SLR, the finder never blacks-out.

The Panorama mode is easy to set and shoot without having to take the camera from my eye! You even can point the X100 up or down for the pan, and it corrects automatically, as if it were a shift-lens rotating panoramic camera!

 

NEWS: Canon Lens Updates

Here is word directly from Canon as to when we can get their newest lenses. These were delayed when Canon's lens factory got hit by the tsunami:

Canon EF 8-15mm f/4L Fisheye USM lens is scheduled to be available in late July 2011 (had been January 2011)

Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM is scheduled to be available in late August 2011 for $6,600 (had been December 2010 at $7,000; Canon cut us a deal)

Canon EF 400mm f/2.8L IS II USM is scheduled to be available in late August 2011 at $10,500 (had been December 2010 at $11,000, again we get $500 off)

Canon EF 500mm F4L IS II USM lens is scheduled to be available in December 2011 for $9,500 (had been May 2011 at the same price)

Canon EF 600mm F4L IS II USM lens is also scheduled to be available in December 2011 (had been June 2011 for $12,000)

 

And here are the pitches from Canon for each:

Canon EF 8-15mm f/4L Fisheye USM (order now to get yours ASAP)

With its unique focal length range, the EF 8-15mm f/4L USM is the world’s widest fisheye zoom lens. It delivers 180-degree diagonal angle of view images for all EOS SLR cameras with imaging formats ranging from full-frame to APS-C, and provides 180-degree circular fisheye images for full-frame EOS models. Professional photographers and cinematographers will revel in the unique perspectives afforded to them through this lens, particularly when coupled with the highly popular full-frame EOS 5D Mark II DSLR camera.

The Canon EF 8-15mm f/4L Fisheye USM lens is expected to be available in late July for an estimated retail price of $1,399.

 

Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM (order now to get yours ASAP)

The Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM is the sixth generation of a venerable family of Canon 300mm f/2.8 lenses that began in 1974, and have become famous for their exceptional sharpness, contrast and color fidelity. Ideal for a wide range of applications ranging from professional photojournalism and sports photography to nature and wildlife, Canon’s 300mm f/2.8 lenses have always led the industry with new technical advances in every generation. The EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens carries on this tradition with improved image quality, lighter weight, improved Image Stabilization and enhanced durability, making it a great option for handheld work in the field. The optical formula of the new lens has been upgraded with the inclusion of two fluorite lens elements for improved image quality and reduced chromatic aberration. Canon has reduced the overall weight of the lens by 8 percent to 82.9 oz., making it the lightest weight lens in the Canon EF 300mm f/2.8 series.

The Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS USM lens is expected to be available in late August for an estimated retail price of $6,599.

 

Canon EF 400mm f/2.8L IS II USM (order now to get yours ASAP)

Quintessential for many sports assignments including baseball, football, soccer and golf, Canon’s professional 400mm f/2.8 lenses provide the light-gathering capability and long telephoto reach that photographers need to freeze the action and fill the frame. The Canon EF 400mm f/2.8L IS II USM is the fifth generation in Canon’s 400mm f/2.8 series and the successor to the current EF 400mm introduced in 1999. The new lens has been engineered for the ultimate in optical performance through the use of two fluorite lens elements for improved quality and reduced chromatic aberration. Canon has reduced the overall weight of the lens by a substantial 28 percent from 189.4 oz to 135.8 oz, making it Canon’s lightest weight 400mm f/2.8 lens ever.

The Canon EF 400mm f/2.8L IS USM lens is expected to be available in late August for an estimated retail price of $10,499.

 

Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM

The Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM offers professional photographers a lighter weight option for those situations that require a long focal length with improved image quality and enhanced durability over its predecessor. Great for a wide range of applications, the EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM lens is ideal for professional photojournalism, sports photography and nature and wildlife photography. The optical formula of the new lens has been enhanced to include two fluorite lens elements for improved image quality and reduced chromatic aberration. Canon has reduced the overall weight of the lens by 18 percent from 136.5 oz to 112.5 oz.

The Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM lens is expected to be available in December for an estimated retail price of $9,499.

 

Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM

The Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM is the successor to the current EF 600mm IS lens first introduced in 1999. This new lens has been engineered for outstanding optical performance and durability and includes two new fluorite lens elements for improved quality and reduced chromatic aberration. Helping photographers in the field, Canon has reduced the overall weight of the lens by a substantial 27 percent from 189.1 oz to 138.3 oz.

The Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM lens is expected to be available in December for an estimated retail price of $11,999.

 

04 June 2011, Saturday

NEWS: Think Tank Speed Demon Convertible almost ready to order.

That link gets you to a list that will alert you the moment you can order it.

 

Fuji X100

Fuji X100. bigger.

NEW: Fuji X100 User's Guide.

Yes, I'm still working on Nikon D7000 and Nikon D5100 users guides, it's just that the X100 is here and easier to write than the more complex SLR guides.

 

02 June 2011, Thursday

NEW: Fuji X100 Review.

NEW: Fuji X100 Comparisons.

A week of shooting and writing over 100 pages (as printed) begs the question: Is this the world's best camera? How to get yours.

 

01 June 2011, Wednesday

What's with the black tape?

Nikon 28mm f/1.4

Nikon 28mm f/1.4 AF-D.

A reader asks why does he see black electrical tape over the lettering of half of my lenses?

Simple: I don't like to advertise. It's a tough world out there, so I also have the logo of each of my cameras covered in black tape. I try to stay as hidden as possible. I cover all non-essential lettering on everything.

I use black tape on silver cameras, especially LEICAs, which makes them look even crummier. I'd use duct tape, but that dries and never comes off after a few years. I use American-made Plymouth Bishop electrical tape; it stays ungummy for decades.

When I make an equipment photo to illustrate a review, I always remove tape over camera logos and usually remove the tape from lenses, but if I grab a lens like my 35/1.8 DX to put on the front of whatever body I'm reviewing today, I'm too lazy to pull it off just for the photo.

A lesser reason I don't like to advertise is that unlike commercial websites, no one pays me to say nice things about their cameras. I honestly am the world's most-read photography author (just look at the stats), probably precisely because I remain the last independent reviewer who doesn't accept camera company ads and who doesn't go on the free PR trips companies like Sony offer to ranches in Montana to pitch whatever new camera's out. I'll be darned if I'm going to walk around the Zoo with a NIKON or whatever logo on me, for free.

Sure, I'd love to go on free trips and get free cameras like the other photo websites form the 1990s that sold out, but probably because I am so independent, too embarrassingly honest and stay under the radar is why camera makers don't court me.

Unlike commercial sites, I do this site for you, not for advertisers.

 

What Was New in:

May 2011

April 2011

March 2011

February 2011

January 2011

December 2010

November 2010

October 2010

September 2010

August 2010

July 2010

June 2010

May 2010

April 2010

March 2010

February 2010

January 2010

2009 back to 2005

 

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Thanks for reading!

Ken

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