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Adorama pays top dollar for your used gear.

I use Adorama, Amazon, eBay, B&H, J&R and ScanCafe. I can't vouch for ads below.

Phil Steele Training

26 March 2013, Tuesday

Nikon D7100

Mine arrived last week. I'll be working with it this week.

Watch this space for more. So far, it's awesome, and the colors seem much better then the FX cameras introduced back in 2012.


23 March 2013, Saturday

Contax T review


NEW: Contax T Review.


21 March 2013, Thursday

Nikon 18-35 G review

Nikon 18-35mm G.

NEW: Nikon 18-35mm G Review.

As expected, heavyweight optical excellence in a lightweight package, but offshored to China unlike Nikon's better lenses.


Canon T5i review

Canon T5i and new 18-55mm IS STM.

NEW: Canon T5i.


Canon sl1

Canon SL1 and new 18-55mm IS STM.

NEW: Canon SL1.

World's smalest and lightest DSLR.


NEW: Canon 18-55mm IS STM.

Adds a steper autofocus motor to the previus lens for quieter video focus.


20 March 2013, Wednesday

First day of karate!

Katie's first day of karate! (Canon 5D Mk III, Canon 80-200mm f/2.8 L at 200mm, AUTO ISO 1,000, f/2.8 at 1/250.) bigger.

I'm loving my 5D Mark III. I got shots like this above simply by running out the door with my Canon 5D Mk III and Canon 80-200mm f/2.8 L, and setting my personal C3 position I program for sports, and I'm done.

I love my classic Canon 80-200mm f/2.8 L because it's tougher than today's f/2.8 zooms, and it's lighter and much easier to zoom with a fingertip. IS and VR are for landscapes; for sports, you don't need it, and you certainly don't need a newer lens. On the 5D Mark III, my 20-year old zoom focuses just about instantly.


Thank you Mac experts

Many thanks to all you wizards who replied about my USB and bluetooth problem.

You wanted to know how it worked out, so here it is.

It was at the Apple Store for observation, and of course it ran flawlessly there for a week. With their tests they determined it's fine, and that if the problem occurs again, I should start disconnecting USB devices to see which one is killing my bluetooth and USB.

So far so good — and I did the entire Voigtländer review below on my quad G5 Motorola-processor PowerMac on OS 10.4!


19 March 2013, Tuesday

Voigtlander 21mm f/1.8 review

Voigtlander 21mm f/1.8.

NEW: Voigtlander 21mm f/1.8 Review.

Für Leica M.


18 March 2013, Monday

DEAL: Nikon D90 for $599.95. (add-to-cart for low price)

The Nikon D90 is amazing; it was announced back in August 2008, and Nikon still sells them new today. They were $900 at introduction.


13 March 2013, Wednesday

Nikon D3X

Nikon D3X and 50mm f/1.4.

DEAL: Nikon D3X for $5,999.99. (it's still usually $6,700!)

It's about time. I've been waiting for this since price drop it was introduced. The D3X is awesome in every way, except for its historically bloated price. The D3X is much better than the newest D4, D800 and D600 because it has full AF controls on its body, not in menus, and its color rendition and rear LCD colors are spot-on without the subtle yellow and green casts I see in the D600, D800 and D4, and it has full-pro construction and better resolution than the D4, too.

Long live the D3X! Not only is the price finally right and is it a better camera with better color and resolution than the D4, it has real AF controls — and Adorama's throwing in free shipping and 2% ($120) rewards. Whoo hoo! We won! The boycott is over!


DEAL: Refurbished Nikon D7000 for $749.

Sure, buy the newest $1,200 Nikon D7100 if you insist (mine isn't here yet it's so new), but the D7000 is still essentially the same thing, and refurbished products are usually indistinguishable from new, so if my mom wanted Nikon's best DX camera, I'd have her get a refurbished D7000 long before I had her spend more to get a new D7100.

Know how important color is to me? I shot my family Christmas card photo on my D7000 instead of my D800 or D600 which was sitting right by it precisely because I knew I would get the colors I need from my proven D7000, and not have to worry about goofy yellow or green tints from the newer FX cameras. (Personally I prefer my 5D Mark III for everything, but I needed a bounce flash and haven't justified the funds yet in these difficult times to buy a Canon 430EX flash yet just to use it once a year for the Christmas card.)


Rockwell Joins the Digital World

OK, I've been doing professional digital audio recording 32 years ago before CDs were even introduced, I was working with the Internet in the mid-1980s and helped develop digital video and HDTV back in the 1980s before anyone even dreamt up the foolish 16:9 idea, and I had a cell phone back when they really were cell phones (AMPS) and my bill was over $700 a month and cell phones were still "cool" — but I've never seen any reason to pay for a data plan for my iPhone, since anything requiring Internet access can always wait till I stop and get free Wi-Fi. I've preferred having a real phone so I can talk at the same time I'm taking notes or a picture on the iPhone. (The iPod Touch is also awesome, but since it's my primary camera, the iPhone 5 is worth buying outright for use as a camera-only since the iPhone camera is faster and better thanthe iPod.)

Well, I actually walked into a phone store and asked what it would take to add data to my iPhone, and since I already had the iPhone, it was trivial (an added $30 a month) so I'm good to go. I have no contract; if I don't use the data on iPhone, I can just swap right back to my regular phone and drop back to my usual $40/month for unlimited voice.

One thing I notice is now that my phone and camera are the same thing is that I can't figure out how to decouple the camera shutter noise from the ringer volume. That's a bummer, since I either miss calls or have that dopey shutter sound. A huge advantage of iPhone, in addition to the fantastic photos I can make with it, usually better than I can with any LEICA, Sony or other brand of camera except Canon and Nikon DSLRs, is that the iPhone is silent. No big deal, I just flick the ringer switch to OFF and the camera shuts up, but if I don't remember to turn it back on, I miss calls.

I'm a renegade today, actually buying my own hardware (phones), as I've always done since back in the day that everyone bought their own phones, and bought service separately. Your cheap "$200" iPhone in the USA with a 2-year contract typically means you have a $3,000 obligation (2 years at $125 a month) so your $200 phone really costs $3,200, but if you pay the extra $400 to buy the phone outright and walk it in to activate, you'll save enough on the monthly rate to pay for the phone in just a few months, after which you're far ahead of the game. It's odd how most Americans today can't see ahead more than three months, after which it really pays off to just buy your on phone outright. (On the Verizon website in the USA, just look down the price-option drop-down to buy the phone without a plan or contract for about $400 more than with a two-year indenture). My bill is only $70 with effectively unlimited use, and if I went to other than AT&T or Verizon, it's even cheaper at other services that simply repackage the others. One guy on one of my tours has his smartphone running for only $30 a month, simply because he went to Wal-Mart and bought his smartphone outright. He had a Samsung, which amazes me with its crappy too-cyan tinted screen. The iPhone screen is one of the most color-accurate monitors ever released to the public!

Unlike most of you, I'm not a phone fanatic. I'm all about the awesome iPhone 5 camera, but when it comes to phones, a dumb phone is smart enough for me.


09 March 2013, Saturday

Canon 6D Users Guide

Canon 6D and Canon EF 35mm f/2.

NEW: Canon 6D User's Guide.

Finally, a plain-English guide to using the Canon 6D.

Yes, guides for the 5D Mk III and D600 are coming.


NEW: Eric Clapton's newest album comes out on Tuesday.


08 March 2013, Friday

Canon 6D Giveaway

Adorama is giving away Canon 6D bodies for just $1,789, once you add it to your cart.

Canon 6D review. The 6D is awesome! Forget the D600, the 6D is so much better for those of us who actually shoot. The 6D's ergonomics, LCD and color rendition are much better to the discerning eye — and the 6D is the only camera on which I've ever gotten Wi-Fi to work (it's built-in for free) so I could email Canon 6D shots from my iPhone.


06 March 2013, Wednesday

Canon 6D Users Guide

I'm working on my Canon 6D User's Guide today.

It still needs me to proofread it.


Dow Jones Reality Check

I'm still laughing at the news yesterday that oh my gosh, the DJIA hit its highest ever, about 14,253, and that the world has been reborn.

Let's look at reality. The DJIA hasn't done anything significant since the Internet became popular. The DJIA was 10,000 in March, 1999 — fourteen years ago. It's had plenty of downs since then, but if you put $1,000 in a DJIA index fund back before practical DSLRs, it would be worth $1,450 today, presuming you were in a no-load fund. Investing in individual "good" sticks would have done worse, since the DJIA is a "cooked" number consisting of only the biggest and best stocks. If you had invested in Enron, it was about $67 a share in March 1999, and worth nothing today. Kodak stock was also a strong component of the DJIA in 1999, also at $67 a share, but was dfelisted from the DJIA in 2004 since it wasn't doing well enough, and today in chapter 11, is worth about 20 cents a share. By the DJIA picking only healthy stocks, the DJIA appears to grow more than individual stocks do.

Even if you invested in stocks and did as well as the cooked DJIA value, you've seen a 43% gain in 14 years, or 2.6% gain compounded annually — about the same or less than putting the same money in a passbook savings account.

If you had bought a case of Nikon 28mm f/1.4 AF-D lenses at $1,200 each, they'd be worth about double today — and you've have had the use of a fantastic lens all this time.

Of course if you'd bought into the LEICA system back in 2009 when I did and suggested you all also make the ultimate upgrade, the LEICA lenses I bought back then are worth about double what I paid for them, in just four short years, about a 20% annually-compounded appreciation rate. You could have bought LEICA lenses and locked them in your safe, walked around as if you were a big-shot because you had LEICAs, and even with them sitting on your shelf unused , would have returned about ten times the appreciation of the Dow Jones. They would have been worth even more to you if you used them; using them doesn't depreciate them. Unlike worthless paper "investments," real investments in real toys are actually useful on a daily basis.

The real way to make money is to invest it in your own business. The stock market is promoted by the people who make money as commissions for buying or selling your stocks for you; unless you're consistently smarter than the guys with PhD's in math and economics managing the funds at mutual fund houses, you aren't going to win against them in the stock market. Making money in the stock market, exactly like making money in Las Vegas, is a fantasy promoted by the sales houses who profit when you buy these things.

Oh yes — if you invested in a DJIA no-load index fund in 1999 (if you even can buy and sell that fund with no load), you'd have seen 43% gain today. Wow, that's zero real return, since inflation has increased the same amount since 1999!

So, as usual, it's media just trying to create news. At least the DJIA has kept up with inflation; the NASDAQ (the tech stocks you folks pay the most attention to) was at over 5,000 in March 2000, and today it's at 3,200 — and that's a very cooked number with the low-performers removed. Actual investors usually have done much worse in the NASDAQ. Just like Vegas, people love to brag about their winnings, but you'll never hear the great majority of losers ever saying anything about how much they lost.

See also How to Afford Anything. Invest your money in something over which you have direct control, like your own business or the content of your own camera bag.


05 March 2013, Tuesday

Nikon 80-400mm VR review

NEW: Nikon 80-400mm VR.

Same as the original 80-400mm AF-D VR of January 2000, and adds instant manual-focus override and closer and faster focusing.

You can already order it at Adorama.


04 March 2013, Monday

Think Tank News

Free Eyepiece With the Purchase of any Hydrophobia Rain Cover

The Hydrophobia includes a Think Tank Camera Strap that is preconnected to durable metal D-rings on the rain cover. Proper use of the strap and rain cover does not require removing the strap attached to the camera. Nor does it require cutting holes in the rain cover or disassembling the camera's attached strap. The lens strap inside the Hydrophobia allows the external Camera Strap to fully support the weight of the camera and lens.


The Sub Urban Disguises

The Sub Urban Disguises are premium quality shoulder bags designed for professional photographers seeking smaller bags. The Sub Urban Disguise Series are available in four sizes. Their features include a flip-top lid that folds away from the body to provide quick and unencumbered access to gear.


The Change Up V2.0

The Change Up V2.0 can change from belt pack to shoulder bag to chest pack via the harness system. Many Think Tank Modular and Skin Components can attach with waist belt straps. With the ability to carry a standard-size DSLR and a 70-200 2.8, (detached), it has a significant amount of capacity in a lightweight, body conforming shape. Alternately, it holds a standard-size DSLR with 24-70 2.8 attached, plus one to three additional lenses.


The Low Rider Strap

Simply slip the Low Rider Strap's split pad design over the handle of your rolling luggage and tighten the side straps. You now can haul two bags with a far lower and more stable center of gravity.


The Limited Edition Pixel Pocket Rocket

Made of two-tone rip-stop nylon, the Limited Edition Pixel Pocket Rocket holds 10 CF cards while keeping them safe and organized. This CF card carrier was manufactured in a one-time production run and will be discontinued once inventory runs out. It truly is a one-time limited edition.


The Pro DSLR Battery Holder

The Pro DSLR Battery Holder is a soft, compact case for photographers carrying two pro-size camera batteries for either Canon or Nikon bodies.


02 March 2013, Dr. Seuss' Birthday

Nikon D600 Deals

Adorama tells me all three of these below now also include a free Nikon ME-1 S-t-e-r-e-O microphone and free shipping:

Nikon D600: $1,996.95.

Nikon D600 with Nikon 24-85mm VR: $2,496.95.

Nikon D600 with 28-300mm VR, 32GB class 10 SDHC Card and a DSLR/Laptop bag: $2,896.95.


Fuji XR 14mm Review

Fujinon XF 14mm f/2.8 ASPH.

NEW: Fuji XR 14mm f/2.8 ASPH Review.


01 March 2013, Friday (aka 29 February 2013, aka 60 January 2013)

Photoshop CS2 tips

I use Photoshop CS6 every day, and use Photoshop CS 2, an earlier version, each week to run my 1999 Epson 1640SU scanner for scanning flat art.

I had to restore my hard drive because I made one wrong click updating the other day, so I had to revert to yesterday's software on my Mac Pro. I use Super Duper and make an exact bootable clone to a portable hard drive each night, so it's trivial to boot from the backup and copy all 1.5 TB cleverly back bit-for-bit to a bonered drive in less than half an hour.

Adobe's activations on their products are smart enough to recognize a cloned hard drive (or machine restored from a clone of itself) as a new machine, so I've learned its easier to deactivate all my software before I revert to yesterday's machine, and then to reactivate as soon as restored.

All was swell, except with Photoshop CS2.

With CS2, when I went to deactivate it on my goofed drive (HELP > DEACTIVATE), and it failed, saying there was a communication error with Adobe's activation server, so please to try again later. No worries, I went ahead and restored my system to yesterday's system figuring that maybe all ought to be fine without waiting again to deactivate it anyway (if you've paid for your software, Adobe will always get you going).

Well, CS2 wouldn't reactivate. A call to Adobe revealed that it wouldn't reactivate because Adobe has decided to turn off their activation servers for it, so there is no way to reactivate CS2 again! It dutifully deactivated on my machine without actually needing a connection that wasn't there anyway, but wasn't programmed to let us know that it would never be able to activate again.

I was torqued that the naysayers were right back when Adobe started this complicated activation process. Adobe had to revert to this process because too many photo hobbyists were giving away illegal copies of Photoshop, which was as simple as burning a CD and writing down the serial number back in the 1990s. When Adobe went to this more secure process, they also lowered the selling price. The naysayers warned that when Adobe controls activation, when Adobe feels like it, they'll turn off the ability to activate your legally purchased software.

The good news is that Adobe sent me to an URL to download a brand new version of CS2 that works just fine with a serial number just like in the good old days, so I'm OK with this, but the real problem was that Adobe's phone support wasted a half hour of my priceless computer time chit chatting instead of geting to the point in two seconds.

I downloaded and reinstalled CS2, and I'm back to where I was.


1.) Don't ever deactivate CS2. It will deactivate forever, and since Adobe's activation servers are gone, you won't be getting any credit for it either.

2.) If you do deactivate it, call the number that appears while trying to activate, get Adobe's new version that will work, and all is good.

3.) Don't drag the entire old CS2 folder to your trash to uninstall the old version, but instead just drag the Photoshop CS2 program item from its folder to the trash, quit everything, and then reinstall the new version. (the new one won't install if the old one is still there). Do this, and all your preferences and scanner drivers and keyboard presets remain as they were, yay!

Now that I write all this, I ought to burn that DMG file to a CD with the new serial number and put it in my software CD backup collection. I still have the original boxed set I bought, but won't be able to get that version up again except by using the new version.

Adobe could have handled this much better if their phone support just said "Try it, you'll like it" for the new version, instead of backpeddaling on why they thought it was OK to let my software turn itself off with no way of being able to activate it as promised when purchased.

To bad it seems that plenty of people are still buying and selling Photoshop CS2. I hope they're OK, but the good news is if you screw up, Adobe came through.


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