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Adorama pays top dollar for your used gear.

I use Adorama, Amazon, eBay, B&Hand ScanCafe. I can't vouch for ads below.

Phil Steele Event shooting

Phil Steele Training

31 August 2014, Sunday

DEALS! Canon's best lenses on sale.

This is how and when I've bought my Canon lenses: when they go on sale as they are now.


DEAL: Nikon D3100 with 18-55 VR, refurbished for $349.


DEAL: Nikon D5200 for $448.95 with free US shipping (refurbished).


29 August 2014, Friday

audioengine B1

audioengine B1.

NEW: Audioengine B1 Review.

A bluetooth DAC that works GREAT!


26 August 2014, Tuesday

Fall Yosemite Workshops

I'll be leading a workshop in Yosemite 16-19 October 2014 and another right after it the Eastern Sierra 19-22 October 2014.

The two tours run one right after the other, so if you're traveling to get to one, sign up for both and you'll get double the fun for the same travel time — but you have to register for each through different organizations.

You register for our Eastern Sierra workshop with Dave Wyman this link, and register fore the Yosemite trip with the Yosemite Conservancy at their site.


Dan Ballard Workshops

I won't be on these, and you may like to know about these workshops that had a couple of cancellations and thus spots available:

Colorado Fall Color Workshop! Sept. 26-28th 2014 t

Moab, Arches and Canyonlands National Park Workshop! Oct. 16-19th 2014.

I'll be at workshops in Yosemite and in the Eastern Sierra in October as well, on the same dates as Dan's Moab and Arches tours. I'll be leading my own workshops 16-22 October 2014.


23 August 2014, Saturday

NEU: LEICA M-P typ 240 in black; also in silver.

Leica has made the usual midlife update of the M typ 240 by replacing the plastic LCD cover with sapphire, taking off some of the front trim I tape over, and adding a "-P" to the name.

No big deal; it's the same camera, but the LEICAMAN will own it because it is who he is.

LEICA always does this: the first camera has a plastic LCD cover, and a few years later the P model comes out with the sapphire cover so everyone gets that, too. No big deal to those work is unworthy of the LEICA, but for men who own LEICA, a must-have.

The LEICAMAN is a man for whom no detail is too small. Every LEICAMAN knows that the LEICA M-P is the new digital camera, while the LEICA MP is a modern mechanical 35mm camera that reuses the model name from the world's first LEICA MP, which is a version of the LEICA M3, the best camera LEICA has ever made. The LEICAMAN immediately perceives the dash or no dash, while lesser men might confuse the two. It is precisely this instantaneous recognition of the smallest details, and knowing intuitivly what to do with that information, which separate the LEICAMAN from the rest.


19 August 2014, Tuesday

D810 Free Service

It's a first that Nikon discovered and published this before the usual conspiracists started whining about it, but if you care (I don't) and have a D810 in the affected serial number range, Nikon will fix it for free. Nikon's not sharing the serial numbers, that link lets you enter your serial and Nikon will say yay or nay.

These little things are less worry to me than having to ship out a camera, but it is always a good idea to send these in before the warranty expires as Nikon always cleans and checks and recalibrates and essentially returns a like-new camera to you. They also apply any other secret warranty repairs of things they update, but don't tell anyone about.

My camera is in the "bad" serial number range, and I've never noticed any problem. I'll wait until it's getting close to the end of the warranty and send it in mostly to get a free cleaning out of it. (All decent repair places clean things before they are returned, just as your car dealer washes your car after it's serviced.)

Who knows; I never bothered to send in my D600 for Nikon's free new shutter since I never had an oil problem and wound up replaceind my old D600 and D800e at the same time with my D810. The D810 is extraordinary!


NEW: Hafler DH-200 Review

Hafler DH-200 Review

Hafler DH-200.


NEW: Sony CDP-X303ES Review

Sony CDP-X303ES

Sony CDP-X303ES.

A review of something Sony does very well: CD players.


15 August 2014, Friday

D810 HDR

Here's a D810 shot:

Noni's park

Park. Nikon D810, 55/2.8 AF, f/8 at 1/250 at ISO 100.


And here's the same thing shot hand-held with HDR at its default settings:

Noni's park

Park. Nikon D810, HDR mode hand-held, 55/2.8 AF, f/5.6 at 1/125 at ISO 100 (indicated). bigger.

These are straight out of my D810; I didn't even need to trim it up in Perfectly Clear.

Just for fun, let's run it through Perfectly Clear:

Noni's park

Park. Nikon D810, HDR mode hand-held, 55/2.8 AF, f/5.6 at 1/125 at ISO 100 (indicated), Perfectly Clear. bigger.

That's at Perfectly Clear's default. Not bad for one-click HDR, eh? Of course if I had time all of this is tweakable if you have the time, which I rarely do.


09 August 2014, Saturday

Holy HDR!


Aviara: Paradise Found. bigger.

I was at a friend's house the other night, and it turns out that he's selling it. I had my D810 and 16-35 VR around my neck, so I figured why not make some snaps for his for-sale listing to see what happens?

I tried my D810's HDR mode (MENU > SHOOTING > HDR > HDR Mode > On (series) and left the rest at default (Auto Exposure differential and NORM smoothing), and I was really impressed.

All I did was shoot handheld and hope for the best, and I got a load of snaps that look a lot better than I had expected.

Specifically, I was there an hour before sunset, and didn't want to have to return again for the colorful sunset. Not really wanting to put that much time into it, I punted and set the White Balance to Shade to make everything more orange, and shot in HDR to tame the bright sky against dark foregrounds, and holy cow, that and one click in Perfectly Clear instantly gave me the shots I wanted right then and there without having to return.

I was able to shoot casually into very contrasty light, and get exactly what I had wanted: a colorful and a bit strong look for a real estate listing — and I didn't have to do any computer fiddling to get it.

I shot all these hand-held. If I wasn't careful I got double-images in transition areas, but overall I got what I needed without having to use a tripod. The 16-35's VR is a big help for that, too, letting me hold the camera right over the water for this shot that otherwise would have needed a tripod under the water:


I've been shooting at this guy's house for a long time. It's a photographers paradise with an unobstructed panoramic ocean view, set right in the middle of the golf course with a view that feels like the Grand Canyon.

Here's my page on it. If you know anyone who can afford paradise, this place is a steal considering that it's got a ten-million-dollar view. Call his broker, Joan Reynolds, (949) 422-2551 or email, if you know anyone interested.

I'm really digging my D810. It's worlds different than the old D800E.


07 August 2014, Thursday

NEW: How to Reset Nikon Image Comments.

Or, why is my name in your camera, and how do you get it out?


Nikon Nikkor-H 50mm f/2

Nikon NIKKOR-H Auto 50mm f/2.


Nikkor 50mm f/2 AI

Nikkor 50mm f/2 AI.

UPDATED: Nikon 50mm f/2 Review.


06 August 2014, Wednesday

World's Best DSLR?

The Canon 5D Mk III has held the title since March 2012, but having used my D810 for the past several days, I think the D810 may soon take the crown.

This is because the D810 does many things extremely well, and adds facial-recognition Auto AF-Area select that actually works. The 5D Mk III has none of this. The real trade off between the two for working pros, as opposed to home-bound spec readers, is that the 5D Mk III has three full-camera preset memories (as opposed to the D810's crummy menu banks), while the D810 focuses itself (the 5D Mk III has poor Auto AF-Area select; I always have to select manually).

The D810 is super smooth, fast and quiet, while the D800 and D800E were clunky, noisy and slow. The old D800 and D800E had lots of pixels, but that was about it, while the D810 is a complete package of excellence.


DEAL: Canon 7D Body: $899.00, refurbished.


04 August 2014, Monday

UPDATED: My Nikon D810 Settings File.

I just updated the settings file that I had posted last week.

I use Banks A for photos of places and things, and Banks B for family photos.


Fuji Deals

1.) $300 Instant Rebate on the Fujifilm X-PRO1, X-E1, X-M1 and X-A1 kits

2.) Buy a Fuji X-T1 body or X-T1 kit with 18-55mm f/2.8 and get a free Fuji vertical grip for X-T1 (reg. $249.95), Fuji NP-W126 Battery (reg. $48.95) and Fuji 32GB Class 10 SD Card (reg. $49.95).

See also my Fuji Reviews.

01 August 2014, Friday

NEW: Nikon D810 Sample Images.

Not great photos, but they give a taste of how sharp is the D810 — and these were shot with a 30-year-old lens!


Canary Palm, 31 July 2014 RP

Canary Palm, 31 July 2014. Nikon D810, 55mm f/2.8 AF Micro-NIKKOR, f/8 at 1/250 at ISO 100, Perfectly Clear. Camera-original © LARGE NORMAL JPG file and full-resolution file as processed by Perfectly Clear.


Canary Palm, 31 July 2014 RP

SMALL BASIC JPG (9 MP) Canary Palm, 31 July 2014. Nikon D810, 55mm f/2.8 AF Micro-NIKKOR, f/8 at 1/250 at ISO 100, Perfectly Clear. Camera-original © SMALL NORMAL JPG file.

Looks great at small image sizes!


Stones 30 July 2014 RP

Stones, 30 July 2014. Nikon D810, 55mm f/2.8 AF Micro-NIKKOR, f/9 at 1/320 at ISO 100. Camera-original © LARGE BASIC JPG file.


GL550 Headlight 30 July 2014 RP

Dirty Headlight, 30 July 2014. Nikon D810, 55mm f/2.8 AF Micro-NIKKOR, f/9 at 1/320 at ISO 100, Perfectly Clear. Full-Resolution image from camera-original LARGE BASIC JPG.


NEW: My Nikon D810 Settings File.

I'm still setting-up my D810, but since some of you can't wait, I've shared my current settings.

I use Banks A for photos of places and things, and Banks B for family photos.


Updated: The World's Best.

I added the Nikon D810.

This is an article illustrating the use of weasel words and general marketing practices than a list of cameras, but I do list the world's best cameras on that page as well.


Now Shipping: Panasonic GH4.

It's shipping, but in limited quanities.


NEW: Canon SX400 and SX520.

They come in red or black.

The SX520 has a 42x optical zoom (24~1,000mm!) and the SD400 has a 30x optical zoom, each for only a few hundred dollars.


Now Shipping: Fuji 18-135mm XF WR.

My Fujifilm XF 18-135mm weather resistant lens is on its way to me. I just got the 27mm as well, but too busy playing with my D810 t0o have opened it yet.


Hafler DH-120

Hafler DH-120 MOSFET Stereo Power Amplifier.

NEW: Hafler DH-120 Review.

A inexpensive amplifier with superb performance.


30 July 2014, Wednesday

Nikon D810 Review

Nikon D810

(36 MP, 2014-today)

Nikon D800E Review

Nikon D800E

(36 MP, 2012-today)

Nikon D600 Review

Nikon D600 (D610 is the same)

(24 MP, 2012-today; D610: 2014-today)

Nikon D3 Review

Nikon D3 (D3S is the same)

(12 MP, 2007-2010; D3s: 2009-2012)

NEW: Nikon D810, D800E, D600 and D3 Sharpness Comparison.

The D810 wins, of course, while the others are more than good enough for people who don't demand the very best, or print at reasonable sizes.


29 July 2014, Tuesday

Nikon D810

Nikon D810 and 50mm f/1.4 AF.

Nikon D810

My D810 arrived last week, and I'm impressed that it's significantly better than my old D800E.

It's obvious as soon as you pick it up and shoot: it's much quieter and the in-finder data display is now white, with an orange flash bolt, instead of the old all-green.

My Nikon D810 review has been updated, with all-new Performance and USA sections. I'll be updating it most of this week.


28 July 2014, Monday

Edward Weston Exhibit

There's an Edward Weston exhibit open at The Huntington.


24 July 1969: Re-entry and Splashdown!


Command Module reentering Earth's atmosphere. bigger

45 years ago today, astronauts fell out of the sky at 36,194 feet per second, or 7 miles per second, or 24,678 MPH (40,000 kph).

The Command Module separated from the Service Module, and came into the Earth's atmosphere 400,000 feet above Earth. The craft nearly burns up, just like a meteorite, for exactly the same reason.

This is a very complex process since the Command Module is just falling without wings or engines. Try dropping yourself in a metal tub from a height of 75 miles (400,000 feet or 125 km), while already going 25,000 MPH. You'll go sideways 1,400 miles (2,300 km) in the process of falling those 75 miles. You'll be flying so fast that air friction will burn you alive, just as it does to falling stars. You're going to fall from 75 miles (and cover 1,400 miles over the ocean) in just 14 minutes. Several carefully designed sets of progressively larger parachutes are used to slow the craft


At 9:50:35 AM PDT (12:50: PM EDT, 16:50 UT) we had splashdown.


Note the floatation device around the Command module. bigger. After we lost a previous Command Module into the ocean when it tipped and sank, on this mission we took precautions. (Photo: Milt Putnam, NASA.)



Hoisting the CM onto the USS Hornet. bigger.

Complete live coverage.


23 July 1969, Wednesday

Olympus 35 SP Review

Olympus 35 SP (1969 - 1975).

NEW: Olympus 35 SP Review.

My favorite fun 35mm camera, the 35 SP has Vacation! written all over it.

I've spent a year on and off writing this review; it has more details about the 35 SP than anywhere.

Since we're back in 1969 this week celebrating America's Lunar landing, let's explore this very popular camera that was also introduced in 1969.

In fact, everything that people today associate with the future and advanced technology all came from the 1960s. Space flight, consumer use of transistors and the Integrated Circuit, and the Boeing 747 first flew in February 1969.

Think the Internet is hot? That was invented by the US military's DARPA lab back in 1969 as well, called the ARPA net back then. It started working in October 1969.

Groovy baby!

Even the Space Shuttle design was started back in 1968.


22 July 1969, Tuesday: Trans-Earth Coast

45 years ago today, the astronauts are coasting back to earth.


21 July 1969, Monday: Lunar Ascent


Ascent. enlarge.

45 years ago today at 9:54:01 AM PDT (12:54 PM EDT, 17:54 UT, MET 124:22:01) the first men to visit the moon lifted off in the Eagle (the ascent stage of the Lunar Excursion Module, LEM) to return to the Command and Service Module (CSM).


The Ascent Module of the LEM approaches the CSM. enlarge.

Once docked with the CSM, the men climbed back in, and the Eagle was jettisoned for lunar orbit at 5:01:01 PM PDT (8:01PM EDT, 00:01:01 UT). It should have crashed back into the moon a few months later; no one tracked it and so no one has any idea where it is.

At 9:54:42 PM PDT (12:54 AM EDT, 04:54 UT), Trans-Earth Injection (TEI) began with a 2 1/2 minute firing of the CSM main engine.

As we learned during the TLI (translunar injection) on 16 July 1969, the TEI pushes the Command and Service Modules out of Lunar orbit on their way back to Earth.

Once the TEI is complete and the CSM is on a transearth path, all it does is coast for the next three days until they arrive back at Earth for reentry.


July 20, 1969


20 July 1969: The End of Impossible

45 years ago at 7:56:15 PM PDT (10:56PM EDT or 02:56 UT tomorrow), Neil Armstrong got out of the LEM (Lunar Excursion Module):

First Step

Neil Armstrong's First Step on the Moon. (as seen on on TV.)

Armstrong stepped onto the lunar surface, saying: "That's one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind."

Neil Armstrong had just become the first living thing in history to set foot on any other celestial body.

As the most important event in all human history, one-sixth of the Earth's population watched this live on TV, and TV was still in its infancy. People lucky enough to have TVs usually only had B&W TV, if anything.

Buzz Aldrin followed 19 minutes later. Neil Armstrong snapped this photo with the Hasselblad:

Aldrin egress

Buzz Aldrin steps out and descends to the surface of the Moon. bigger.

Armstrong was such an extraordinary pilot that he made things more difficult for himself. The legs of the LEM were articulated and full of crunched tinfoil so that the tinfoil would crush on touchdown, letting the legs compress and absorb any impact. They landed so perfectly that the landing gear didn't need to compress — it was a gentle, smooth landing.

This left the LEM higher than intended, so there was a big distance from the bottom rung of the ladder to the surface of the moon. John Devaney, a Grumman engineer on duty in Houston, was afraid that it might have been so high that they wouldn't be able to to climb back into the LEM!


Footprint. Bigger.

Read more live coverage.


19 July 1969, Saturday

Canon 16-35mm IS Review

Canon 16-35mm f/4 IS L.

NEW: Canon 16-35mm f/4 IS L Review.

Canon's sharpest ultrawide ever!


Forty Five Years: End of Translunar Coast

45 years ago today, the astronauts fired their rocket engines to slow enough to enter lunar orbit. They were hurtling towards the Moon at an average speed of about 3,500 miles per hour for the past three days.

Today at 10:21:50 AM PDT (1:21PM EDT or 17:21:50 UT), Apollo XI turned around and fired its main engine for just over 6 continuous minutes (357.5 seconds) while pointing away from the moon so that they could slow down and enter lunar orbit. How powerful is this braking effect? About 1.2 Gs, or about 30% stronger than the brakes on your car at maximum, and they put up with this again for six minutes to slow down. Imagine going so fast you had to lay on your brakes as hard as you can for six minutes to haul it down!

After they slowed down, they made another 17 second burn to perfect and circularize their lunar orbit for the universe's first lunar landing tomorrow.


18 July 1969, Friday

Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 Review

Canon EF 50mm f/1.8.

NEW: Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 Review.


Pre-orders rule while laggards drool!

To get hot gear while it's still hot, you have to order now and be patient.

Many of those of us who placed our orders for our Nikon D810s the day they were announced already have them on their way to us. Mine shipped out to me today.

Laggards who wait to "read the reviews" or hold one before they buy theirs might have to wait a long time until all the orders already placed a month ago get filled.

It's been this way for at least thirty years when the indomitable Nikon F4 came out in 1988 and people were on waiting lists for months, waiting to pay hundreds of dollars above list price just to get theirs while it was still cool.

When Nikon introduced their first consumer DSLR, it was a year and a half until anyplace had a D100 actually in stock. You had to order and wait. It was the same in the 1930s for the LEICA SUMMAR 50mm f/2 lens, and the same when the Fuji X100 came out.

It's always this way. Whenever something really worth having comes out, there will be a while until all the orders get filled. You have to be sure you're the first to order to be the first to get yours, duh.

Here's a critical point some people still don't realize: when you order online from approved sources, you almost always have about a month to return it for a full cash refund for any reason, and you don't get billed until it actually ships.

That's right: order from an approved source as soon as it comes out, you'll get yours first, you can play with it all you want and decide for yourself how much you love it or not, and if you really hate it, just send it back for a full cash refund, of course so long as it goes back exactly as it came to you.

In addition to better price, selection and service online (and via mail order before online), full cash refund return policies are why I haven't bought at retail since the 1970s. You can't get that if you're foolish enough to buy at retail, and worse, no retail store gets as many cameras shipped to them as do giants like Adorama, B&H and Amazon. It doesn't matter if your local dealer has you on his list if he doesn't get enough cameras to fill your order.

Today as always, I get the hot stuff first simply because I order it as soon as I can and wait patiently. The silliest thing you could do is to cancel one order and then reorder someplace else, putting you at the back of the line.

If you have a local single-store, family-owned real, live camera store you like, swell. Adorama and B&H are also local, single-store, family-owned stores, as is OC Camera in Southern California. These are great if you have one close you love, just never waste your time and money at stores with more than one location.


Forty Five Years: Translunar Coast

45 years ago today, the astronauts were still coasting on their way to the moon.

Two days ago they burnt through over a million gallons of fuel just to lift off and get into earth orbit at 24,245 mph (7 miles per second or 18 times the speed of a rifle bullet). They started at 24,245 mph as they glided away from Earth, slowing from Earth's gravity, and then at 43,495 miles from the moon they started speeding up again as the Moon's gravity pulled them in.

What made this space travel instead of just going in circles around the earth was the TLI (translunar injection) burn two days ago, during which they accelerated at 1.3 Gs for about six minutes to get going out of orbit and on to the moon. They accelerated like crazy, then coasted for a few days.

Their rockets won't fire again until tomorrow when they are needed to slow down to enter lunar orbit.

This is what America does. The gauntlet has been down for 45 years as of Sunday. We're waiting for whoever wants to be number two to get to the moon. Oops - we already did that, sending six craft to land a dozen men on the moon and bring them all back safely. Hats off to China who has sent an unmanned rover to the moon in 2014, but no one else has come close to landing man #13 on the moon. Please can't someone land the first woman or child or at least someone else — anyone else, from anywhere — on the moon? Is America really 45 years more advanced than the rest of the world, or has the whole world gone back to its caves to read the Internet all day instead of accomplishing anything great? Who are the heros today, someone with a popular Twitter channel? The new dark ages have been creeping up on us and few people bother to notice. The movie Idiocracy is true; am I going to have to design my flying car myself? Well, that's always been the American way: if you want it, invent it.

It doesn't matter what you do, so long as you do something. Pick a goal and stick to it. We didn't get to the moon by letting ourselves get discouraged when whiners said it was impossible. America's conquest of the moon proves that nothing is impossible.

We got to the moon with less computer power than my digital watch. Your hardware is irrelevant; what you do with it is everything. In the days of Apollo, most engineering calculations were done on slide rules; few engineers had pocket calculators until the 1970s. Everything at home ran on vacuum tubes in the Apollo era. 1 MHz 8086 DOS PCs were a decade away, and even in the 1980s were shared resources for engineers; engineers didn't get PCs on every desk until around 1990.

Men made it to the moon using mostly slide rules, guts and intuition. Take some risks and you just might succeed.


17 July 1969, Thursday

Forty Five Years Ago: Translunar Coast

45 years ago our astronauts were in translunar coast on their way free from earth's gravity on their way to the moon.


New Tokina 70-200mm VR FX lens

Tokina 70-200mm f/4 VR for Nikon: $1,099.00 with free US shipping. This is Tokina's replacement for the Nikon 70-200/4 VR. Seeing how the real Nikon 70-200 only costs $300 more, I'd step up directly to Nikon, which we know offers superior performance and of course long-term compatibility with future cameras.

Not orderable yet is the Tokina 70-200mm f/4 IS for Canon. This is Tokina's replacement for my favorite Canon 70-200/4 IS. Seeing how the real Canon 70-200 IS sells for only $100 more than the Tokina copy, you'd have to be an idiot to wait for the Tokina for Canon when you can get the real Canon 70-200 you want today. I own the Canon 70-200/4 IS, which I've owned since they came out in 2007 and is my favorite Canon tele.


Half off Black Magic PocketCine Camera

BlackMagic Pocket Cinema Camera: Reg: $995.00, Special: $495.00 + free batteries (2 x BlackMagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera Battery) and free US shipping.


16 July 1969, Wednesday

NEW: Canon Ultrawide Lens Sharpness Comparison.


NEW: Film Look vs. Video Motion Smoothing.


Forty Five Years: Launch and Translunar Injection

launch c

Apollo XI liftoff at 6:32AM PDT (9:32 A.M. EDT, 13:32 UT), pad 39A, Kennedy Space Center, Florida, USA, 16 July 1969

Forty five years ago the world watched as America launched Apollo XI, the first craft to bring Americans to walk on the moon.

See my live coverage.


15 July 1969, Tuesday

Forty Five Years

Forty five years ago the world eagerly anticipated the launch Apollo XI, the first craft to bring Americans to walk on the moon.

See my live coverage.


Easy Prints - cheap!

Katie wanted some photo prints of me and her together for a crafts project.

As I worked the online order at Costco, Katie saw the option to have them mailed to us. She wanted to do that, and I was curious what it would cost to save us the trip.

I tried it, and it's free to have them mailed to you, promised in about a week.

For a total of three dollars, we have a couple dozen prints on their way to us.

Of course Katie thought we could go to our mailbox right now to get them, and didn't quite get it when I said we'd have to wait. She then thought that "wait" meant later this afternoon.

I ordered three sets of 6 prints. One was for Katie, one for me and one to send to my mom.

I got curious if I could order a set and have them sent directly to my mom, saving me having to repackage the third set and mail it at my expense. I ordered another set for a total of 85¢, including free shipping.

That was easy!


Pentax XG-1

Pentax XG-1 (52X Optical Zoom): $396.95 with free US shipping.


Manfrotto Tripod Deal

Manfrotto Carbon Fiber Travel Tripod with Backpack: $298.99.

You pay $398.99 with a $100 Mail-in Rebate. Final price after mail-in rebate: $298.99.


Samsung Coupons

Samsung Summer Coupon Sale, including NX mini, GC200, NX30, NX300, NX GN120, and more!

Coupon code: SAMSUNGSUM

Expires 31 July 2014.


Ricoh GR

Ricoh GR Pocket Camera Bundle: $796.95 (bundle savings of $427.95), and also includes 4% Adorama rewards and free US shipping.

Expires 28 July 2014


Pentax K3

Pentax K3 Bundle: $1,296.95 (bundle savings of $414.90), and also includes 4% Adorama rewards and free US shipping.

Expires 28 July 2014


Lexar Cards

Save up to 45% on Lexar Memory starting at $12.95 .

Expires 26 July 2014



Wacom Intuos5 PTH450 Touch Small Pen Graphics Tablet (Refurbished By Wacom USA): $109.99 (Regular $169.99) including free US shipping.

Expires 25 July 2014



LG 42LB5600 42" HDTV: $359 including free US shipping using Coupon code S071470711 at checkout (Regular $429).

Expires 30 July 2014


14 July 1790, Fête du quatorze juillet

R. I. P. Lorin Maazel

Esteemed conductor Lorin Maazel passed away yesterday. The NY Times has a good article on his life and times.


R. I. P. Tommy Ramone

As the last surviving band member, The Ramones now becomes classical music. Librarians hate when this happens since they now have to recatalog and move all the Ramones CDs and LPs from MR to EC call numbers, both on the stacks as well as in the catalogs.



Now that I'm back from the weekend, I need to get my Canon ultrawide comparison written.


Panasonic GH4 in-stock

Panasonic GH4: $1,697.99 with free US shipping.


12 July 2014, Saturday

Fuji X100S

Katie at the park for a concert at dusk

Katie at the park for a concert at dusk. (Fuji X100S, f/2 at 1/38 at Auto ISO 6,400, flash ON, Athentech Perfectly Clear.) bigger.


Beatles concert at the park under monlight

Beatles concert at the park under moonlight. (Fuji X100S, f/2 at 1/20 at Auto ISO 6,400, no flash and most certainly no tripod, Athentech Perfectly Clear.) bigger.

Wow, after I snapped the kids at camp in the morning, I had no idea how perfectly my X100S would balance flash with near-dark dusk, and also let me shoot under moonlight without flash, all hand-held and all with perfect exposure on the first shot. With my X100S, I'm never wasting time looking at my LCD and tweaking after each shot; they just come out right the first time, every time.

No mirrorless camera, not even the X100S, replaces a DSLR. I need both: DSLR for serious work, and X100S for everything else to carry everywhere. The X100S gives better images for these shots as I show here, while if I have the time to piddle, for nature and landscape and architecture and things that hold still, the DSLR rules.

The X100S costs the same or less as another good DSLR lens or body. Get an X100S and of course keep your DSLR as well — neither replaces the other.


11 July 2014, Friday

Got your X100S Yet?

Katie arrives at Critter Camp

Ryan arrives at Critter Camp. (Fuji X100S, f/4 at 1/140 at Auto ISO 800, flash ON, Athentech Perfectly Clear.) bigger.


Ryan and Katie at the first day of Critter Camp.

Ryan and Katie at the first day of Critter Camp. (Fuji X100S, f/4 at 1/125 at Auto ISO 800, Athentech Perfectly Clear.) bigger.

While I'm loving my new Canon 16-35 IS, Canon's sharpest ultrawide ever made, for the same price as one more lens you can get a Fuji X100S, which amazes me every day as I snap my kids going about their business. There is no better camera for family and people photos than the X100S, and it's a lot less expensive than any of the inferior cameras that try to compete with it, like the LEICA M typ 240. The M240 is for landscapes and for people to brag that they own it, but not ideal for making people photos. The M240 is OK for landscapes, but my D810 or 5D Mk III is better for less money as well.

The colors and sharpness and dead-on fast focus and everything about my X100S never cease to amaze me, and the X100S and superior 23mm f/2 ASPH combo sell for less than most bodies or cameras alone. If you don't have yours yet, you need to get one and carry it everywhere.

I got harassed when I brought my 5D Mk III and 16-35 IS to camp on Tuesday, but no one noticed when I brought my X100S there on Monday and again today. That tells you something else important: you can get more places and get more shots with the X100S than you can with a big, scary DSLR.


09 July 2014, Wednesday

NEW: Nikon 400mm f/2.8 Lenses Compared.


Nikon 400mm f/2.8 VR

Nikon 400mm f/2.8 VR.

NEW: Nikon 400mm f/2.8 VR Review.

The 2007 version.

Every Nikon and Canon 400/2.8 is optically spectacular and focuses ultrafast. We select which is best for us based on size, weight and close-focus distance; even VR isn't really important.

For all-day pro use, the newest 400/2.8 FL is significantly lighter and is the only choice, while any of them is fantastic for nature and landscape use if you don't mind carrying it.


Nikon D810 - D800 compared

I just added Nikon's comparison between the new D810 and the old D800 and D800e to my D810 Review.


08 July 2014, Tuesday

DX Dream Team Updated

No big deal, but I added the 18-300mm lenses to the DX Dream Team page.

Any of the 18-200 or 18-300 lenses can replace the rest of the dream team, depending on your preferences


North Coast Photo Lab on Facebook

I found my favorite Photo Lab on Facebook. They've posted all sorts of current photos shot by people with all sorts of cameras.


Secrets of iTunes

I just updated Secrets of iTunes: How to Import CDs. I updated it for iTunes 11; when I wrote the article in 2006, we were all on iTunes 6.

The optimum data rates and file formats haven't changed, but how you set them in iTunes has.

Good news is that I used Beyer DT990 headphones when I did my research in 2006, and when I retested it again last year with the STAX SR-007 Mk II, the numbers are the same: 160 kbps AAC VBR is completely transparent for the most difficult classical music. I ran an acid test (still not written up) where I A/Bed the output of a high-end 35-pound CD player with the same disc as encoded in iTunes at 160 kbps AAC VBR as played-out from the analog output of my 2011 4th-generation iPod Touch.

The results of the acid test was that the two were indistinguishable! When they system was all aligned, there was no change in sound when the A/B switch was flipped. With the STAX it's easy to hear even the shape of the room in which the music is performed, and even that didn't change as I spent hours A/Bing with the most difficult recordings I could find. There are plenty of audible defects when using equipment of this resolution, and these were all in the original recordings; nothing changed as I swapped between the two players. You'll never read about this in mainstream media who want you to buy fancy players; au contraire, plug your iPhone directly into your HiFi and you're done.


Canon 7D Deals!

Instant rebates of up to $600 through August 2.

Canon 7D Review.

Canon 28-135 IS Review (Full-frame lens with no wide-angle ability on the 7D.)

Canon 18-135 IS Review (Lens with wide-angle ability optimized for the 7D.)

The key between these deals is that you can get a 2% future rewards card from Adorama or a few accessories, each for the same price.


Canon EOS-7D body

Canon 7D Body: Reg: $1,499.00, Instant rebate: $500.00 = Final price of $999.00 with free US shipping and 2% Adorama rewards.

Canon 7D Body with 16GB Card, Bag and Cleaning Kit: Reg: $1,499.00 Instant rebate: $500.00 = Final price of $999.00 with free US shipping.


Canon 7D with 28-135mm lens

Canon 7D with 28-135mm IS Full-Frame Lens: Reg: $1,699.00, Instant rebate: $600.00 = Final price of $1,099.00 with free US shipping and 2% Adorama rewards.

Canon 7D with 28-135mm IS full-frame lens and 16 GB Card, Bag, Cleaning Kit and 72 mm UV Filter: Reg: $1,699.00, Instant rebate: $600.00 = Final price of $1,099.00 with free US shipping.


Canon EOS-7D with 18-135mm lens (recommended):

Canon 7D and 18-135mm IS Lens: Reg: $1,799.00 Instant rebate: $500.00 = Final price of $1,299.00 with free US shipping and 2% Adorama rewards.

Canon 7D with 18-135mm IS lens, 16GB Card, Bag and Professional Lens Cleaning Kit: Reg: $1,799.00 Instant rebate: $500.00 = Final price of $1,299.00 with free US shipping.


04 July 1776, Independence Day

Fireworks at Aviara Four Seasons

Fireworks. bigger. (Nikon D800E, Nikon 24mm f/1.4 G, program auto gave f/1.4 at 1/30 at Auto ISO 6,400, Matrix meter, autofocused once on Ryan then set to MANUAL focus to hold, VIVID Picture Control at +3 Saturation, A3 M1 AWB.) bigger.

How to Photograph Fireworks.


03 July 2014, Thursday

NEW: Canon Ultrawide Sharpness Comparison.


02 July 2014, Wednesday

In Stock: Sony A7S.

$2,000 off: Pentax 645D.

$50 off: Pentax K-50 kits.



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