31 May 2014, Saturday
Canon 100-400mm L IS.
NEW: Canon 100-400mm Review.
A fantastic lens at a bargain price!
30 May 2014, Friday
LAST DAY: How to Shoot Events.
My friend Phil Steele is still offering 33% off his new online video series on How to Shoot Events — but only until Friday. The price should go up on Saturday. It's a series of videos covering all the topics, and you'll have eternal access to them from anywhere whenever you need them.
Phil spent about a year with another friend of mine developing this series of videos sharing everything and every trick there is to know about shooting every kind of event from weddings to street fairs, concerts and corporate meetings.
It's a no-brainer. Phil offers a money-back guarantee, so check it out while it's still on introductory pricing and if you hate it, he'll refund you.
There's also loads of other things to see as samples on his site.
Nikon 18-300mm f/3.5-6.3 review.
NEW: Nikon 18-300mm VR Review.
It really works! This little lens works great.
28 May 2014, Wednesday
Last light on the Half Dome.
What I did last weekend.
Pentax ME Super and SMC Pentax-A 50mm f/1.7.
NEW: Pentax ME Super Review.
NEW: Fuji X-E2 Deals
Adorama's offering either 4% rewards or a bundle with free goods (card, case, battery, etc.) and most with free 2-day US shipping:
27 May 2014, Tuesday
NEU: LEICA MACRO Adapter M.
$690.00 with free US shipping.
Verk. Nr. 14 652.
This is just a variable extension tube, so it needs to be used with live view on the M240. It has no rangefinder coupling and is useless with other LEICAs since you won't be able to focus or see what you're doing. For other LEICAs, you'll need the kit with the rangefinder macro adapter.
$3,650.00 with free US shipping.
Verk Nr. 11 670.
It's got the same optics and is identical to last year's 90/4 Macro — except what's new is that when it's collapsed that it just happens to be aligned perfectly to shoot to infinity when mounted on the MACRO ADAPTER M. When you want to get even closer, just extend the adapter even more.
Of course this cleverness only works with Live View on the M 240; it's uncoupled to real LEICA M cameras.
$7,950.00 with free US shipping. This is simply a silver M9 Monocrhom, which previously only came in black. It is not an M 240 monochrom.
20% off military, police, hunting and zombie preparedness items, and Adorama is donating 5% to the US Veterans association.
Use that link and search around and/or use the category links on the left of the page. There is a huge selection of binoculars and scopes on sale.
I found it! Adorama has a ton of crazy items for iPhone photography.
Amazon was just granted US patent 8,676,045 for a very clever and particular way to arrange a raised Plexiglas platform, lights and backdrop to give instant in-camera images with a 100% white background and a slight reflection below the subject, all with no postprocessing (like Photoshop) needed to make the platform blend into the background.
This patented method saves loads of time making studio shots. Previously it took time to make the platform blend into the background if you didn't get it just right, and often people had to add fake reflections later in Photoshop.
Amazon's patented method lets them create these white backgrounds with reflections fast and easy, and that means less time and thus and less cost to produce their studio shots.
Amazon didn't patent the white cyc or the white background as the ignorati have claimed; they only patented a clever method to get the reflecting floor to blend seamlessly into the background, as-shot in-camera. Read the patent itself for details and ignore the ignorati who thought that Amazon patented the white background itself, hee hee.
Ideas aren't patentable; implementations are. Pros need fast results; post-processing is for hobbyists.
This means if you use this clever method for your studio shots, especially if you're an online retailer showcasing your wares, you might be hearing from Amazon.
Amazon's patent doesn't have anything to do with using a white background, using a light table, tent, or using a clear glass table over white, and it has nothing to do with using a blown-out white backdrop. It has everything to do with how everything is arranged to make the floor blend into the backdrop along with a slight reflection underneath.
Ask your patent attorney for details. Your copyright lawyer is probably the right guy to ask if you don't have a patent attorney.
26 May 2014, Memorial Day
A thousand thanks to those who made the ultimate sacrifice.
23 May 2014, Friday
Coastline south of La Jolla Children's Pool at sunset.
Fuji XF 55-200mm OIS.
Another super lens from Fuji.
Fuji X-T1 and 55-200 OIS: Any good?
I'm just getting back from my Yosemite trip last weekend and sorting photos I shot on the Fuji X-T1. Here's a full-resolution image from a camera-original JPG shot with the Fuji XF 55-200mm whose review I'm writing.
Merced River, Yosemite Valley, 7:43 AM, 18 May 2014. Fuji X-T1 at Auto ISO 200 and Auto DR 100, 67mm at f/5.6 at 1/170 handheld, Athentech Perfectly Clear. bigger or full-resolution from camera-original JPG.
Look OK? Even as I shot it at Medium NORMAL JPG, I can count every pine needle. This Fuji stuff is good!
22 May 2014, Thursday
DEAL: Canon 70D with 18-55 STM, printer and paper: $1,017 after rebate. Free US shipping, too!
To get this secret deal, click "Save up to $184.95 with bundle" under "buy together & save."
Here's the math:
Total after Mail-in Rebate: $1,017.00
Fuji XF 10-24mm f/4 OIS.
Fuji XF 23mm f/1.4.
Another pro winner from Fuji.
Now that I've reviewed so many fantastic lenses from Fuji, I realize that Fuji's new X system already has a complete bank of unsurpassed professional lenses. The Fuji XF lenses are hot!
In addition to the fast metal 18-55mm zoom supplied as a kit, Fuji already has the equivalents of 21/2.8, 35/1.4, 50/1.4 and 85/1.2 lenses with scaldingly good performance, all shipping and as good or better than the dated equivalents from Nikon, Canon and LEICA.
A camera system is only as good as its lenses. I just checked Sony again, and while popular with hobbyists, Sony has no full line of pro lenses for its cameras. Yes they have a couple of nice Zeiss lenses here or there, but they've got huge gaping holes in their line. For a 35/1.4 on a Sony, you're either using the 1980s Minolta MAXXUM 35/1.4 (or the current Sony-branded version of the same thing) and they offer nothing for a 35/1.4 for their mirrorless cameras — and Sony cameras are programmed to shoot these fast lenses usually no wider than f/4 anyway.
I have to giggle when I see people using $30 adapters to put $8 lenses on $2,000 cameras. Do that, and you've got an $8 camera. Even adapting LEICA's 35/1.4 to an A7, the results aren't what you should be getting; adapted lenses rarely work as well as they should when adapted. With the Fuji system, we already have a full system of lenses whose performance excels on their matched Fuji bodies.
Fuji makes $100,000 lenses and more. No other mirrorless maker does. Fuji is the King here. Fuji's been making pro cameras like the X-Pan and GSW cameras for decades, and pro film for a lot longer than that. Fuji knows pro photography, while the other mirrorless makers know how to make TVs and stereos. Marvelous.
Cameras are artists' tools used to create their works. TVs and stereos merely reproduce the works of others. Except that they both are sold in the same places today, but the two are on opposite ends of the creative process. Panasonic and Sony make great pro video gear, but sadly Sony's still cameras are needing someone to breathe a lot more mojo into them for serious use.
Up next: Fuji XF 55-200mm review.
21 May 2014, Wednesday
Use coupon code 260SIGMALS at checkout for $260, otherwise it sells for $345 and up. Coupon expires 27 May 2014.
Not that I'd buy Sigma, but for those of you who want it, here you go.
All also with free US shipping. Deals Expire 31 May 2014.
Here are a slew of Adorama's house brands that give us great deals on common items whose prices are usually jacked-up when marked with name brands:
DEAL: Vanguard Tripod with grip head for $250 with free US shipping. Reg: $343.88.
While hobbyists (and bloggers who talk a lot but don't actually shoot) may think they "need" more camera, the D7000 is all anyone really needs for professional use, and at under $1,000 with a nice lens, it's a screaming deal.
20 May 2014, Tuesday
Full-Frame or DX / APS-C?
Full frame today only gets you narrower depth of field and a larger viewfinder.
The images are the same. DX looks the same as full frame except for having a larger depth of field.
It's not 2007 anymore. The Japanese know how to make small things good. Full-frame and APS-C cameras give results indistinguishable from each other 99% of the time.
The 1% of the time that there's anything different, it's not anything you'd see in real-life photography other than depth of field.
Choose your format based on how much weight you want to carry (DX is lighter), how big you want your finder (FX is bigger) and how much depth of field. you want (DX has deeper depth of field. because the lenses are shorter for the same angle of view).
NEW: Dan Ballard Workshops.
Rocky Mountain National Park Aug 1-3, 2014.
Ranches of the Wet Mountain Valley (Colorado) Sept 5-7, 2014. See running horses at sunrise with 14,000-foot mountain peaks in the background!
Colorado Fall Color Sept 26-28, 2014.
Arches and Canyonlands National Parks Oct 16-19, 2014.
Dan is still offering private workshops around the world. Some options are Patagonia, Lofoten Islands, New Zealand and Iceland.
I won't be on these; I just got back from my own this weekend in Yosemite.
15 May 2014, Thursday
Canon 100-300mm USM Full-Frame.
For under $100 used, this is a very high performance and light weight lens for all Canon EOS cameras.
14 May 2014, Wednesday
Nikon 400mm f/2.8 E FL VR.
It's two pounds lighter! All Nikon's 400/2.8 lenses have always been optically spectacular, but no one wants to carry them all day. Shaving off two pounds is a very big deal. VR isn't for pro sports shooting, it's for nature and landscape where we can snap animals darker into the dusk at saleable lower ISOs.
NEW: Nikon TC-14E III 1.4x Teleconverter: $496.95
NEW: Nikon J4 camera. All these lenses are VR:
NEW: Nikon 1 J4 with 10-30mm: $596.95.
NEW: Nikon 1 J4 with 10-30mm, Orange: $596.95
NEW: Nikon 1 J4 with 10-30mm, Silver: $596.95
NEW: Nikon 1 J4 with 10-30mm, White: $596.95
NEW: Nikon 1 J4 with 10-30mm & 30-110mm: $846.95
NEW: Nikon 1 J4 with 10-30mm & 30-110mm,White: $846.95
NEW: Nikon 1 J4 with 10-100mm: $1046.95
NEW: Nikon 1 J4 10-100mm, White: $1046.95
NEW: Nikon S2 camera. This lens is not VR:
NEW: Nikon 1 S2 with 11-27.5mm: $446.95
NEW: Nikon 1 S2 with 11-27.5mm, Red: $446.95
Ha! Nikon is reusing the S2 model name. The real Nikon S2 is a 1950s 35mm rangefinder camera.
As shipped, the X-T1 has a menu set so AFC mode won't work. To get AF-C to focus properly, you have to set a cryptic menu item to ON.
I also learned that Fuji has a fantastic live help line at (800) 659-FUJI (3854). Press the options for professional camera help and you'll probably get Steve Pulhamus who is an expert on these cameras.
13 May 2014, Tuesday
Canon 16-35mm f/4 L IS.
NEW: Canon 16-35mm f/4 L IS.
Possibly Canon's first ultrawide with performance as good as the Nikon 16-35 VR.
Canon 10-18mm IS: $300!
NEW: Canon EF-S 10-18mm IS.
The world's first reasonably priced ultrawide — just $300!
NEW: Canon SL1 - in white!
Two out of three's not bad.
Fuji 56mm f/1.2.
NEW: Fuji 56mm f/1.2 Review.
Possibly the best short, fast tele I've ever tested.
NEW: Mirrorless or DSLR?
Which is best?
10 May 2014, Saturday
Fuji X-T1 and 18-55mm OIS.
NEW: Fuji X-T1 Review.
A fantastic new camera that redefines the segment. My review still needs proofreading (I blew out for the weekend already), and I knew you'd want to see it and its sample images sooner rather than later.
08 May 2014, Thursday
$100 Adorama gift card plus Instant Rebates with select Panasonic cameras, with free US shipping. Rebates expire May 17, 2014.
06 May 2014, Tuesday
Yes, get one. Reviews coming; these are fantastic.
03 May 2014, Saturday
Holy cow, mine just arrived and I'm exceedingly impressed. No wonder they are in such high demand that they took this long to arrive!
The XT-1 is what a Japanese camera should be: tiny, tight, precise, fast, quiet, easy-to-use and extremely well made out of all metal — not an offshored-to-China excuse made out of plastic. Finally, a real camera to review! It puts the LEICA M240 in the dustbin by comparison (The LEICA's finder is offshored to China and made out of plastic). The XT-1 works fast and easy, as a camera should. I haven't opened the manual, and I doubt I'll need to. Everything just works as you'd expect it to.
The XT-1 has a huge, live electronic finder with eye control, about 15 years ahead of LEICA's EVF on the M typ 240.
Likewise, the 56/1.2 (85mm equivalent) is also a dream. It focuses super fast, and it's super sharp, and unlike a real SLR or rangefinder camera, the XT-1's closed-loop mirrorless autofocus system ensures that focus is dead-nuts perfect every time, especially at f/1.2. Yes, that lens has some spherochromatism like almost all ultrafast teles, and unique to the Fuji mirrorless system here is that focus is so perfect that I never get any green or magenta fringes on my in-focus highlights as I do on other types of cameras.
Fuji is actually advancing the state-of-the-art in photography, while other brands are just sitting around selling the same old thing. Man, the Fuji actually has dials and a control system that work together, not like the could-have-been-great dials on the Nikon Df.
When you use the Fuji, you'll see how they've actually been thinking about how to rethink what a camera should be and add new features that help us get the shot, as opposed to throwing more junk features in our way to help sell more cameras.
For nature, fine art and landscape work I still prefer the color palettes I get from my Nikon D610 and D800E, iPhone 5S and Canon 5D Mark III, while my Fujis are more optimum for people shots and neutral colors. Of course if you shoot RAW then the colors you get will depend on your software; I shoot actual photos (JPGs).
I know what I'm shooting this weekend. I'll let you know more next week.
Nikon 35mm f/1.8 G FX.
Another optical marvel.
Nikon 35mm f/2 AF-D FX.
Actually, this review page has been up since 1999 when I started this site and reviewed it on the Nikon F100.
I just updated the entire review with a ton of new data to compare directly to the newest f/1.8 version above for use on high-resolution digital like the D800E.
02 May 2014, Friday
01 May 2014, Thursday
NEW: Sony A77 Mark II.
What's an FDSLR? A Faux (Fake) Digital Single Lens Reflex, or an imitation DSLR. These Sonys are not DSLRs. In fact they are mirrorless cameras styled to mimic a real DSLR. They have a fixed, half-silvered (not translucent) mirror for focus assist, but have no flipping reflex mirrors for direct optical viewing, so these are not DSLRs.
"Reflex" means a mirror that reflects the live optical lens image to an optical screen for viewing, and flips out of the way to take the image — none of which any Sony has today. As far as I know, Sony no longer makes any DSLRs. Another tip-off to the deception is that Sony so prominently puts "DSLR" in every mention of these imitations. As propaganda masters know, repeat any lie often enough and loud enough, and people believe it as fact.
A fixed, half-silvered focus assist mirror does not make a DSLR; you need the flipping viewing (reflex) mirror. All real DSLRs have these half-silvered (translucent) mirrors for their AF systems , but real DSLRs also have the flipping reflex mirror so lacking in the Sonys.
Sony uses FUD against the leaders because Sony has no real DSLRs; a classic case of FUD usage.
That said, Sony has advanced what mirrorless cameras can do. I love being able to see what I shot the instant after I shot it right in the same viewfinder. With real DSLRs, people look like fools looking at the back of their camera after each shot. With the Sonys, I see what I just shot right in the finder, and I even can set all my menus without taking the camera from my eye. There's a lot to like with these FDSLRs.
What's hot about this particular new small-format Sony is that its electronics can process and save 12 frames per second. It claims continuous AF during all this, but as I know, it's difficult for even a state-of-the-art professional Nikon D4s or Canon 1DX to keep up autofocus if the subject is moving to fast or is too close, so how well the A77 Mk II can track focus for fast action will have to wait to be seen. How fast its DSP can capture and save images has nothing to do with the speed of its autofocus system. That's the real reason pro cameras like the Nikon D4s and Canon 1DX are so fast: their AF systems are also much faster than in consumer cameras.
I wouldn't buy one of these Sonys, I'd step up to a real Canon or Nikon DSLR for better color rendition, higher real speeds and better overall handing, for less money. Honest, I greatly prefer the less expensive Canon SL1 or Nikon D3300 over any of the Sonys. The Sonys are flashy and loaded with foolish features, while real cameras are better at doing what we really need them to do: just take the picture — and Nikon's and Canon's 18-55mm lenses are much better then the Sony equivalents.
30 April 2014, Wednesday
NEWS: Canon makes the 100-millionth EF lens.
29 April 2014, Tuesday
NEW: Nikon and Canon Rebates
NEW: Fuji X-E1 Sale.
TODAY ONLY: Sony NEX-6L/B with 16-50mm: $550.
Through May 3, 2014:
26 April 2014, Saturday
NEW: How to Shoot Events.
This is a new video course by my pal Phil Steele.
Motel Henning, Route 66.
NEW: Photos from Route 66.
These are snaps from my February, 2014 journey.
25 April 2014, Friday
Best Canon Full-Frame Wide-Angle
I usually suggest the 17-40/4 L.
The 16-35/2.8 L II is pretty much the same, just faster and wider, for more money
Here are two secrets few people consider for less money:
The 28/1.8 USM is small, light, and super-fast for use in low light, but it doesn't zoom.
The smallest and least expensive ultra wide is the 20/2.8 USM, another favorite of mine.
No one can suggest what's best for you unless they know what you're trying to do.
The 17-40/4 L is the most popular for most people. It's reasonably priced and reasonably sized and works great.
If you're a full-time pro, I prefer the 16-35/2.8 L II, which is what I usually use — but cost doesn't matter to me since I do this all day for a living.
If I'm traveling light, the 20/2.8 USM is at least as good optically as the 16-35 II and much less expensive, but doesn't zoom.
If you need the fastest lens for shooting in the dark, the 28/1.8 is over twice as fast as any of the others.
24 April 2014, Thursday
LEICA T typ 701.
NEW: LEICA Model T.
An APS-C mirrorless, built as solid as a MacBook Pro.
23 April 2014, Wednesday
NEW: Canon EOS 1V Review.
Canon's best 35mm SLR.
Ed Verosky eBooks
Ed's moved his eBook Store.
Butterfly Outing in San Diego
The Butterfly Jungle at the San Diego Safari Park closes this Sunday.
My pal Steve Cirone has openings for private one on one instructional tours there all this week, except for Saturday which is already sold out. There are 15 plus species of colorful butterflies point blank. A Private Tour is $245 and includes park entrance, a loaner 100mm Canon macro IS L lens, or a Sigma for Nikon 105 mm macro lens.
Most important is the lighting Steve supplies, either the Canon Macro Ringlight or Twinlight, and for Nikon folks, the very fancy Nikon R1C1 lighting kit.
We meet in the parking lot at 7 AM and get set up and go into the butterfly zone at 8 AM (special hours for the exhibit). The tour ends at 11, so you get 4 hours of intensive shooting with full instruction.
21 April 2014, Monday
NEW: Home Page.
18 April 2014, Good Friday
NEW: Canon 320EX Flash Review.
Logitech Bluetooth Speaker Adapter.
HomeSpot NFC Bluetooth Speaker Adapter.
Two ways to play from Bluetooth into any car or home audio system — and they sound great for serious listening. Honestly, they sound 99% perfect, and if you're really going to be listening intently for any length of time in your studio, just pull the plug out of either of these and plug directly into your iPhone if you need better quality.
16 April 2014, Wednesday
15 April 2014, Tuesday
NEW: Nikon D3300 Review.
DEAL: Canon S110 for $250.
UPDATED: Recommended Cameras.
60 Years of M
14 April 2014, Monday
1937 LEICA 50mm f/2 SUMMAR.
1938 LEICA IIIa and its original 1937 50mm f/2 SUMMAR.
NEW: LEICA IIIa Review.
A camera for these modern times.
It's like Sculpture
Ask a sculptor, and he'll tell you that sculpture is simple. All you do is chip away all that isn't part of what you're trying to sculpt. Simply take away all the stone that isn't what you need, and you're done.
Photography is the same. You have to work diligently to remove everything from your picture that isn't part of the picture. Remove all distractions and anything and everything that isn't directly related to telling the story you're trying to tell, and when you've removed every distracting or unrelated element, your masterpiece is complete.
Photography, like sculpture, is completely backwards from painting. In painting, you start with a blank canvas and add only what is needed. In sculpture you start with a large block, and remove all that isn't needed. Likewise a camera sees everything, and it's the photographer's duty to move around, get closer and remove everything that isn't contributing to his image.
Photo Gear Sales Job Available
OC Camera in Mission Viejo, Orange County, California, has a full-time sales position open. You'll have and ask for details, but as I see it, it's working the counter in a real photo store that sells top brand Nikon, LEICA, ZEISS and more, and sells just as many classic used cameras as new DSLRs.
It's one of the last real photo stores, meaning a single-location privately-owned photo store like B&H or Adorama, as opposed to a huge worthless chain store that's only there to make a buck. OC Camera is much more interested in giving customers the advice they need than selling them something. I've even heard their guys tell people not to buy a filter to protect a DSLR kit lens. As they asked the customer, are you really going to pay $20 for a filter to protect a $99 dollar lens against something that probably won't happen?
If you're in south Orange County and want a full-time long-term position, give them a call at (949) 347-1276 or just walk in 10 - 6 Monday - Saturday at 27680 B Marguerite Parkway. They're also at firstname.lastname@example.org. Tell them I sent you.
10 April 2014, Thursday
Nikon 18-300mm VR.
This new lens covers the same range as the existing 18-300mm VR, and is now 30% lighter. It's slightly slower at 300mm, f/6.3 vs. f/5.6, and the weight loss is more than worth it.
It's also much smaller than the old 18-300. The old one took a 77mm filter, while this new one only needs a 67mm filter.
This new 18-300m is ten ounces lighter!
I usually shoot my 35/1.8 DX on DX because light weight is more important to me than crazy zoom ranges, but when I need a do-everything long range zoom, the existing 18-300mm is so good that I had no problem licensing an image to McDonalds's last year that I shot with it on my D7000. They used it on a billboard! Therefore, if I can get the same huge zoom range and image quality with a lot less weight, this is fantastic.
This is another reason I love Nikon's DX cameras so much compared to Canon's small frame cameras. Canon has no lens that can compete with this. Canon's best shot is their 18-200mm IS, which is primitive by comparison with no instant manual-focus override. Canon has no 18-300mm lenses, and for full-frame, they have nothing that can compare with the performance and reasonable size of the Nikon 28-300mm VR. Canon does make some super zooms, but they are huge white things that sell for thousands of dollars and weigh many pounds each.
04 April 2014, Friday
03 April 2014, Thursday
01 April 2014, April Fool's Day
DEAL: Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 II for $525, for many different cameras.
They used to sell for $740.
Which would I buy? I bought the Nikon 10-24mm for $900 back when it first came out. The Tokina is bigger and tougher and faster, while the Nikon is lighter and more likely to break — but has a wider zoom range and better instant manual-focus override.
Either is a fantastic choice.
What Was New in:
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If you find this as helpful as a book you might have had to buy or a workshop you may have had to take, feel free to help me continue helping everyone.
The biggest help is when you use any of these links when you get anything, regardless of the country in which you live. It costs you nothing, and is this site's, and thus my family's, biggest source of support. eBay is always a gamble, but all the other places always have the best prices and service, which is why I've used them since before this website existed. I recommend them all personally.
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