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31 October 2013, Reformation Day

Sony A7?

I'm stoked about the Sony A7 as a possible improved replacement for the unavailable LEICA M typ 240. If you already own and shoot the LEICA and have gotten fed up over waiting for a typ 240, the A7 might be better (more reliable and a better finder), and will probably be available sooner.

However, if you're a normal person and don't already have a full set of LEICA lenses and bodies, no, don't get the A7 with the intent of adapting your Nikon AF, Canon EF or other SLR lenses to it — just get a Nikon D600 or Canon 6D for the same price and get better images (better color rendition) as well as full autofocus and diaphragm control you won't get using an adapter.

In the case of the LEICA, the newest LEICAs offer no more automation than they did back in the 1950s, so with adapted lenses on an A7 we're still back in the 1950s, so we won't notice. If you plan to use SLR lenses on it, forget about it.

I am curious how much function we'll have with Sony's adapters for the Minolta MAXXUM and Sony AF lenses. If we get AF and diaphragm control, the A7 might be a better Sony A99. We'll see.


Minolta 28mm f/2 Review

Minolta MAXXUM AF 28mm f/2.

NEW: Minolta 28mm f/2 Review.

Very good optics in a solid, precise package — for Minolta MAXXUM and Sony Alpha cameras.


30 October 2013, Wednesday

Minolta 35mm f/2 Review

Minolta MAXXUM AF 35mm f/2.

NEW: Minolta 35mm f/2 Review.

Great optics in a solid, precise package — for Minolta MAXXUM and Sony Alpha cameras.

Too bad it costs twice a much used as a brand-new Nikon 35mm f/2 AF. That Nikon lens is also excellent for full-frame, and a bargain at $360.


29 October 2013, Tuesday

Canon 55-250mm IS II Review

Canon 55-250mm IS II.

NEW: Canon 55-250mm IS II Review.

Exceptional optics in an inexpensive package, rightfully making it one of Canon's most popular lenses.


28 October 2013, Monday

NEW: The World's Best.

Some people are confused and think I call everything the world's best.

Here's the list, and the explanations.


NEW: iPhoto LA Photojournalism Workshop: City of Angles.

Los Angeles, Friday - Sunday, November 15-17, 2013.

email or call Dave Wyman at (323) 377-7565 for more information and to register .

I don't expect to be in California for this; this tour is led by my friends Dave Wyman and Ted Soqui, so call it Dave and Ted's Excellent Adventure.

Here are some snaps from the past month by these two, mostly from other outings they've led in LA:










25 October 2013, Friday

Secret Sales: Checkout versus Cart prices

For the Canon deals I've found recently, the price in-cart isn't the price you pay.

I've uncovered some secret sales where the price drops below the in-cart price as you complete the checkout process, and then you get a mail-in rebate after that.

The Internet marches on, and these prices and specials change from minute to minute.


Canon 100-400mm Sale

$1,359: Canon 100-400mm L USM IS: Regular price $1,699, price during checkout: $1,359! (it will show as more in cart; you have to checkout to get the secret discount.)


Canon Hot Deals (not live until 3PM NYC time today)

$999: Canon EF 24-70mm f/4L IS: Reg Price $1,499. Price at checkout $1,299, minus $300 mail-in-rebate makes final $999.00, and includes + 4% Adorama rewards and free shipping

$2,248: Canon 6D with 24-105mm f/4L IS: Reg $2499.00, click "buy together and save" to add the printer and paper, and the final price after $400 mail-in rebate drops to $2248.00, and includes 4% rewards and free shipping.

$1,038: Canon 70D. Reg Price $1199.00, click "buy together and save" to add the printer and paper, final price after $400 mail-in rebate is $1038.00, and includes + 4% rewards and free shipping.


NEW: How to Photograph the Milky Way.

You asked, so here you go.

The Milky Way

The Milky Way as seen from Bridgeport, California, 8:12 PM, 22 October 2013. Canon 5D Mk III, Canon RS-80N3 remote cord, Canon 16-35mm f/2.8 L II at 16mm, f/2.8 at 32 seconds at ISO 6,400 (LV -8), shot as CR2, processed in Aperture 3 and Photoshop CS6. Bigger.


24 October 2013, Thursday

Just got back!

I just got back from a week shooting up around Yosemite and am sucking in all my shots and getting ready to share them  after I get my film back from the lab.

While I was away, the price on refurbished Nikon D7000s has dropped to $649. I paid twice that for mine. You can pay more for a D7100, but honestly, I don't see any significant difference between the two — and I own both.


17 October 2013, Thursday

Canon Specials

Canon 70D with 18-55mm IS STM and 55-250mm IS II IS: Reg. $1,649.00. Add the printer (use the "buy together and save" link on the product page) and then price after instant rebate is $1,198!

Canon 5D Mark III with 24-105L IS and 600EX-RT flash: Reg. $5,646.99. Add the printer (use the "buy together and save" link on the product page) and then price after instant rebate is $3,999.


NEW: Nikon D5300.

Adds Wi-Fi and GPS to the D5200. Yawn. A refurbished Nikon D7000 for $649 is a better camera.


NEW: Nikon 58mm f/1.4 ASPH NOCT.

Nikon's answer to ZEISS trying to outdo it. Nikon's fastest lens today is still the 50mm f/1.2 AIs. Nikon also made a 58mm NOCT in the 1980s.

I suspect this new lens ought to smoke all other fast normal NIKKORs shot wide open, but otherwise, the 50mm f/1.4 G is so good I see only the loaded going for this 58mm lens.

For whatever it's worth, Nikon invented the world's first 50mm f/1.4 lens in 1950, and Canon invented the world's first 50mm f/1.2 aspheric lens with floating elements in the 1970s.


16 October 2013, Wednesday

Sony Wins the Rockwell Challenge!

Sony A7 review

Sony A7.

NEW: Sony A7.

About a decade ago I challenged any experienced digital camera maker, preferably Canon, to produce a full-frame digital camera with a LEICA M mount and integral electronic finder.

After about ten years, Sony wins. Check out the new Sony A7 full-frame mirrorless camera.

Sony's new A7 ($1,698) has a 24 MP 24x36mm sensor, with a Sony E (NEX) mount. I already have a LEICA to NEX adapter, so I'm good to go.

Sony's A7R is the same thing, with 36 MP, for $2,298.

The only attempts so far have been from LEICA, with their M9, M-E and M typ. 240, but none has an integral electronic finder. (The Typ. 240 needs an external EVS 2 finder.)

The Sony A7 is really an NEX camera with the NEX mount. It doesn't use the Alpha or Minolta MAXXUM mount, although Sony seems to be trying to make the A7 look like an SLR and pretend it's an Alpha/Minolta mount. You can buy LA-E3 and LA-E4 adapters from Sony for the Alpha or Minolta MAXXUM mounts, but I don't know if they autofocus.

The NEX mount itself is mostly useless for full-frame (except for the new ones below, there are no full-frame NEX lenses), but adapters from every other mounts are everywhere. I suspect the A7 may be a much better camera than the M typ. 240, and will also actually be available for sale and for less than one-quarter the price.

The funny part is that I've been waiting over a year for my own LEICA M typ. 240, and it just arrived on Friday. Sadly, it's just a loaner, but with the A7, I'll probably own a Sony A7 long before I can buy an M typ. 240. The LEICA M 240 is in such short supply it sells for more used over eBay than new.


New Cameras:

Sony A7 (24MP): $1,698.

Sony A7R (36MP): $2,298.

Sony A7 with 28-70mm Lens: $1,998.00

Leather case for A7 and A7R: $139.99

New full-frame lenses for NEX E-mount:

Zeiss 24-70mm f/4 OSS: $1,199.99.

Zeiss 35mm f/2.8: $799.99.

Zeiss 55mm f/1.8: $999.99.


Adapters to use MAXXUM and Sony Alpha lenses on NEX:

LA-E3 MAXXUM to E-mount adapter: $199.99.

LA-E4 MAXXUM to E-mount adapter (for use with AF-assist mirror cameras): $349.99


New full-frame lens for MAXXUM and Sony Alpha:

70-200mm f/2.8 G II SSM: $2,999.99.


14 October 2013, Monday

Sale - O - Rama!

Nikon D600: $1,679 brand-new! Reg $1,999, also includes free SanDisk 32GB card, extra 3rd party battery, bounce flash gizmo, Slinger bag and monopod, 4% rewards and Free Shipping!

Refurbished Nikon D600 for $1,539!

Nikon D600 and 24-85mm VR: $1,929.95: Reg Price $2,696.95, also includes 4% rewards and Free Shipping.

Nikon D600, 24-85mm VR and 70-300mm VR, Nikon Bag, 32GB Card, WU-1b Wi-Fi, Nikon School Guide to Digital Photography: $2,349. Reg $3,349.95, and includes + 4% rewards and Free Shipping.

Canon S100 for $194.95. Was $429 new, now $194.00 refurbished — with free shipping!

Canon 70D, 18-55mm IS STM and Pro100 printer: $1,185. Reg. $1,349.00. Add the Canon Pro100 printer and the price drops to $1185 after instant rebate, and includes 4% Adorama Rewards and Free Shipping.


10 October 2013, Thursday

SanDisk Extreme II 240GB Solid State Drive: $199. Reg Price $229.95, includes Free Shipping.

SanDisk Extreme II 480GB Solid State Drive: 359. Reg $459.95, and includes Free Shipping.

B&H's weekly specials.


09 October 2013, Wednesday

D600 Give-Aways

Wow, with the D610 announced (which for all I know is the same D600 with different firmware and front nameplate), the D600 is even less expensive today than it was yesterday:

SALE: Nikon D600 and 28-85 VR for $1,929.95!

SALE: Refurbished Nikon D600 for $1,539!

I paid full price a year ago, and still love my D600 — no sensor dirt yet! Heck, my six-year-old D3 has a ton of dirt on its sensor; it has no built-in cleaner as does the D600, and I've never bothered to send it out for cleaning, but I am getting tired of spotting all my D3 images.


08 October 2013, Tuesday

Nikon D610 Review

Nikon D610 and 24-85mm VR.

NEW: Nikon D610.

A very slightly faster D600, which begets something we really can use: a discount on the D600:

SALE: Nikon D600 and 28-85 VR for $2,096.95!


The Importance of Editing

The two men who discovered the Higgs Boson just won the Nobel Prize.

These two men first imagined this theoretical particle fifty years ago.

It took decades of work by thousands of people and billions of dollars to build a supercollider dug under half of Europe and to analyze the data, but only two men won the Nobel Prize in Physics.

The Nobel Prize is a big one. Just mentioning it has cachet, but every year, zillions of prizes get awarded. How come we all know about Nobel Prizes, when so many other prizes are handed out every year for things people actually understand?

Simple: it's all about editing!

The Nobel Prize only goes to one man, or maybe two, and very rarely three. It does not go to a hundred people, or to a thousand people like the credit roll of a typical Hollywood special effects movie.

It is precisely because the Nobel people so carefully consider who should get the prize, and then award just to the individual responsible. Great ideas never come from more than one brain at a time. No organization or government or business ever invented anything; it always comes from the brain of an individual.

In photography, editing is even more important. Just as the Nobel people carefully select who wins and for what discovery, composition is all about simplification and exclusion. The less we include in our image, the more powerful it is. By including only the most important elements and removing the distractions, our work succeeds. It's just like businesses: regular layoffs remove dead wood (like people who read the internet at work) and leave room for new people willing to work.

The Nobel Prize only goes to the one man who invented something. Yes, thousands may have helped over many decades, but the prize has value because it goes only to its creator, not a sea of support. The same goes for choosing what you exhibit: show only your very best work, and don't show your similar or second-best shots. Showing only a few of your very, very best images is far better than to show ten images, with seven of them not being as awesome as the first three.

Cull and remove viciously. Today it's so easy to share mediocre images that many people do, but if you want your work to stand out, show less of it. Just as the Nobel Prize sceince prizes usually go only to one or two men, show only your very, very best images if you want to look like a better photographer.

Just as a chain is only as strong as its weakest link, a portfolio is only as good as its worst image. Every time you remove the worst image from a set, the set just got a lot better.


07 October 2013, Monday

NEW: Zeiss 55mm f/1.4 ZE für Canon.


NEW: Zeiss 55mm f/1.4 ZF2 für Nikon.

Normal lenses for the truly crazy.

For $4,000 instead of one-tenth the price or less, you get a much heavier lens with no autofocussing. Wow!

Chart shooters will love these giant lenses. Zeiss makes the lenses we use to read newspapers from space, but we don't need that much performance for creating art — but don't let me stop you!

I'll bet you there's no visible differnce between these and the Nikon 55mm f/2.8, which is an extraordinary lens, and autofocuses, for about $175 used if you know How to Win at eBay.


01 October 2013, Tuesday

NEW: Canon Rebates Return!

Just when it all started to make sense, Canon now does two kinds of rebates: the good kind, which are instant rebates, and the bad kind, which require us to mail in box tops.

The Instant Rebate lenses include a free lens filter kit, cleaning kit, and some even have a free tripod or memory card, whoo hoo!

The mail-in rebates are bigger, but Canon is gambling that many of us will forget to mail them in.


NEW: Canon 18-55mm IS STM Review.

Canon 18-55mm IS STM Review

Canon 18-55mm IS STM.

An optically great lens in a plastic barrel.


NEW: Musical Fidelity M1PWR Review.

Musical Fidelity M1PWR Review

Musical Fidelity M1PWR.

A very efficient Hi-Fi stereo amplifier.


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