December 2015's News

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Phil Steele New Year's sale: 53% off Event Photography, 25% off Lightroom Made Easy, 15% off Photoshop Basics and 15% off Pro Portraits with Off-Camera Flash.


Adorama pays top dollar for your used gear.

B&H Photo - Video - Pro Audio

I buy only from these approved sources. I can't vouch for ads below.

Phil Steele Event shooting

Phil Steele Training

31 December 2015, Thursday

New Year's Deals

Everything ships free:

Nikon D800E: $2,049.95 (Regular $2,449, refurbished)

Nikon D7000 w/18-55mm DX VR II: $439.95 (Regular $539.95, refurbished)

Nikon 55-300mm VR DX: $199.95 (Regular $229, refurbished)

Nikon D3300 w/ 18-55mm VR II (refurbished) & free Corel software: $319 (Regular $449)

Nikon COOLPIX P610: $254.95 (Regular $299, refurbished)

Nikon D5200 w/ 18-55mm VR DX (refurbished) & Samsung microSDXC 64GB PRO Class 10, U3, Memory Card with Bottom Insert Adapter: $379.95 (Regular $479)

Nikon D5500 w/18-55mm DX VR II (refurbished) & Samsung microSDXC 64GB PRO Class 10, U3, Memory Card with Bottom Insert Adapter: $569.95 (Regular $679)


Fujifilm S9900W with Remote WiFi Shooting & 50x Optical Zoom: $179.99 (Regular $229)


Crumpler Bag for DSLR & Zoom: $14.95 (Regular $39)


OSD Bluetoth soundbar: $149.99 (Regular $319).


28 December 2015, Monday

Hasselblad Zeiss 50mm f/4 C Review

Hasselblad 50mm f/4 C.

NEW: Hasselblad 50mm f/4 Review.

I found out about the movie below only a few weeks ago when I was researching sources of 70mm film to run in a 70mm magazine for a HASSELBLAD. I stumbled into the movie below; turns out there isn't much out there in 70mm raw stock for still shooting.

Of course even back in the 1990s when I asked my lab about running long rolls of 35mm still film they laughed! Even though you can buy magazines for Nikons and others to shoot 250 exposures, you're on your own for processing unless you can get Fotokem to run it for you.


More deals

HOT: Tokina 11-20mm f/2.8 DX (also for Canon): $424 (Regular $499 to $518), all with Free Shipping.

10% rewards on Zeiss, Tamron, Rokinon & Sigma Lenses— all with free shipping!


Today (Monday) only, ends midnight NYC time:

Two SanDisk 32GB Extreme CF Cards: $59.95 (Regular $74.95), with free shipping.

Two Sandisk 128GB Extreme CF Cards: $169.94 (Regular $259.94), with free shipping.

Two Sandisk 64GB Class 10 U3 ExtremePRO SD cards: $69.94 (Regular $119.94), with free shipping.


27 December 2015, Sunday

The Hateful Eight 70mm Roadshow

I am boycotting it, and I did go see The Hateful Eight in 70mm last night with my friend Steve Cirone and his friend Elena.

The big deal is that this big film really is shot on big film. The director had Panavision pull out large format cameras and lenses that haven't been used in 50 years and used those to shoot this.

Instead of easy digital capture, he shot, edited and printed the whole three-hour-long movie on Ultra Panavision 70.

While the projected prints are on 70mm film, the cameras shoot 65mm negatives. This is all twice as wide as regular 35mm film, which you know of course was originally invented in the 1800s for movie cameras and simply repurposed in the 1920s for compact still cameras.

The latest Star Wars flick was also shot on 65mm film. 65mm negative is often shot today for productions that need the highest possible quality for 4k digital release. It gives better results than shooting it on a 4k camera; leaving more margin for eventual editing.

Ultra Panavision 70 is an anamorphic (squeeze and then unsqueeze) process. The cameras shoot at an aspect ratio of 2.2:1. The anamorphosis (squeezing) is at a ratio of 1.25:1, so the final images are at 2.75:1: Ultra Panavision. (TV is 4:3, flat movies are 1.85:1 and 'scope movies are 2.4:1; these are the rectangles in the Panavision logo.)

Having worked in Hollywood for a decade and having seen motion pictures projected from 70mm prints, I really wanted to see this. I've never seen anything like 70mm projection, and the general public hasn't seen anything like this since giant movies like Ben Hur came out in the 1960s. This whole process was so expensive that it hasn't been used in 50 years.

Turns out the movie company bought up lots of old 70mm projectors and placed them in 100 theatres, and for this week only ending New Years Eve you, too, can see a film projected in glorious 70mm.

Well, the last 70mm film I saw was at the Motion Picture Academy (AMPAS) in Beverly Hills (the same theatre at which they hand out the Oscars), and it was glorious.

I wasn't sure what to expect at a 70mm showing not at the Cinerama Dome or other top-tier Hollywood installation.

The movie itself is OK with a great story and intermission, but technically as projected at a local (non-Hollywood) theatre, it didn't look any different than a regular movie.

I had high hopes, but wasn't expecting much at a local theatre. The local theater didn't have a wide enough screen for 2.75:1, so the movie didn't fill the screen vertically. In a theatre, you always fill the screen vertically, and move the side curtains to fit the show. The previews are in one aspect ratio, then the curtains are supposed to slide out when the main event starts. Well, not at that theatre.

There was a lot of flare. I didn't realize until later in the show that it was in the projection system, not the film. There were a lot of ghosts, and light blobs were going off the screen.

Sadly the whole system wasn't as sharp as it should have been. It didn't look any different than a regular movie, except that there were black bars along the top and bottom of the screen so 2.75:1 could fit on the 2:40:1 screen.

As expected, there were loads of film school types in the audience — the guys with earrings and pointy beards who can talk a blue streak about making movies, but don't actually make them. Real directors don't go to film school; this film's director didn't. Ansel Adams never took a photography course either. In this world, you just do; you don't sit in class and talk about it.

Hint: if you want to work in the movies, volunteer as a PA (production assistant) on as many films as you can. Pay attention, ask a lot of questions, always show up and do whatever you're asked, make a lot of friends and keep at it. Schools usually get you nowhere except in debt, unless you're going into an office job like engineering or accounting.

Of course this film was a real film. You may have forgotten that projected film flickers, and with all the white snow, flickered like a bandit. Our eyes are most sensitive to flicker with large, bright expanses, and there was loads of this to make flicker strong. There wasn't much gate weave, except with the INTERLUDE plate at the start. The prints were clean; 70mm makes dust and scratches much less of a problem — but the black levels were never very black in our theatre. Black blacks is one of the things that made film stand out from digital projection 10 years ago before digital projectors got good.

As we saw it in a local theatre (local means anyplace more than 15 miles from Hollywood), lip sync was also way off, which was often distracting. Audio was about 12 frames (a half second) behind. Geesh, that's one thing you expect them to get right in a theatre. The local theater's sound system was awful: loud and tinny. This wasn't the Chinese Theatre.

All in all, I was hoping for a lot from a 70mm show, but as I expected, local theatres never match what you can see at The Academy where everything has been optimized by the best of the best.

The director even had Panavision do crazy things like make new 2,000 foot magazines so he could do long takes.

I hope all these projectors stay in place and that there are more films released in 70mm. I also hope the local venues continue to be optimized. I've seen Cinerama at The Dome back in the day (1990s), and it was a completely different experience than this roadshow today. Let's hope they get it even better for next time.

Theatres need to do this today to get me off my back and out to the theatres. It was television that scared movie makers into wide screen in the 1950s to try to give people a reason to pay for what they got for free at home. Today the local theatre needs to work a lot harder to give us what we can't get at home.

As it is, the trailers looked and sounded better on my old iPad 2 than the movie did in the theatre. My beyerdynamic T51i headphones sound a lot better than the sound in the theatre. Santa brought me an iPad Pro for Christmas, and it's got a way better screen than my old iPad 2, so look out.

Another cool thing about the 70mm show is that they handed out beautiful printed programs; you don't get that from Amazon Instant Video.

Art is always about the message, never the medium. In this case the medium wasn't exploited as well as it could have been, but as a movie, it's OK. It's the same thing as Django, but with a different story. It was certainly worth seeing, even as I continue to boycott it. Ultimately the purpose of a movie is to tell a story, which this movie does extremely well. Even my 9-year-old has no interest in Star Wars because there isn't any real story to it. The Hateful Eight gets you at the beginning and keeps you glued to it for three hours.

In spite of my minor peeves, I'm really stoked that the director went to all the effort to do the film his way — and got away with it. This is what art's all about: doing it your way. I'm sure it looks spectacular when projected properly (a friend saw it at a different theatre on Long Island, and told me it was AWESOME), but I saw it t different theater. We're all all over the place for Christmas, so it was hard for me to catch it anyplace, much less in LA.

It's never about the hardware; its always about what you're making and who's making it. Picking nits is easy; what really matters are people who can make movies like this. In this case, one man wrote and directed the whole thing, and that's what matters. Bravo!


25 December 2015, Christmas


2015 Christmas Card

We were pretty late with the card this year. We never did get the kids set for an official card photo, so we used these shots from the other weekend with Santa in the park.

These were all shot with my Canon 5DS R, Canon 320EX flash and Canon 50mm f/1.8 STM, except for the birds that were shot on a D3200 and its pop-up flash for backlight.


Last Minute Shopping

Are you kidding? I'm slacking with the family until January, but in case you were wondering:

You can still send gift certificates from Amazon (what I give my family), gift cards from Adorama, gift cards from B&H, and Amazon prime is offering free 2-hour delivery on a ton of things until midnight, Christmas eve.

Amazon and just about everyone has to stop flying at midnight so Santa has clean airspace for delivering all the presents, whoo hoo! Here is some of the information from the FAA (USA's Federal Aviation Administration) about Santa and his aircraft.


More deals?

I kid you not; here are some fresh ones; as we say in radio, the hits just keep on coming:

Nikon - Finally!

Most of these are with free overnight shipping, but again due to FAA FARs (Federal Aviation Regulations) for Santa on Christmas Eve, these will arrive after Christmas:

Nikon D3200, red: $229.99 (Regular $279, refurbished) with free shipping.

Nikon D3200 w/ 18-55mm VR II: $299.99 (Regular $339, refurbished) with free shipping.

Nikon D3300 w/18-55mm VR II: $319 (Regular $399; refurbished) with free shipping.

Nikon D5300: $399.99 (Regular $499, refurbished) with free shipping.

Nikon D7100 & Nikon WU-1a Wireless Adapter: $489.95 (Regular $599, refurbished) with free shipping.


Nikon 24-120mm f/4G VR: $649.95 (Regular $699.99, refurbished) with free shipping.

Nikon 18-105mm VR: $184.99 (Regular $229, refurbished) with free shipping.



Fujifilm X-PRO1: $499 (regularly $799) & $20 back in Adorama rewards, with free shipping.



Olympus E-P5 Micro 4/3: $349 (Regular $799!) with $39 in Adorama rewards and free shipping. Also in silver.



Audio-Technica ATH-M50x Headphone& Tascam DR-22WL Recorder w/ Wi-Fi: $169 (Regular $299) with free shipping.

Audio-Technica ATH-M70X Headphones & Denon DA-300USB USB DAC & Headphone Amplifier: $399 (DAC alone sells elsewhere for $455!), with free shipping.


23 December 2015, Wednesday

Last chance for free overnight shipping

Adorama is offering free next-day shipping on over a thousand items ordered until 3:45PM today NYC time, so it's never too late for Christmas. 3:45 PM NYC time is 12:45 PM California time.



These are the best prices I've ever seen, but you're not going to get free overnight shipping:

HOT: Canon 5D Mark III: $2,149.* WOW! I paid $3,500 for mine and didn't get any free goodies; the 5D Mk III is state-of-the art and this is a steal! I love my 5DSR — but the 5D MK III is still faster!

HOT: Canon 7D Mark II: $1,049.* State-of-the-art in APS-C cameras at a rock-bottom Christmas sale price!

HOT: Canon 70D w/ 18-135mm IS STM: $949.*

HOT: Canon T6i w/ 18-135mm IS STM: $749.99.*

HOT: Canon SL1 w/18-55mm IS STM & 75-300mm III: $399.*

* All are after rebate and all come with free shipping.

Most of these bundles include (all include the printer & paper):

● Canon PIXMA PRO-100 Professional Photo Inkjet Printer
● Canon SG-201 Photo Paper Plus Semi-Gloss, 13x19", 50 Sheets
● Lowepro Nova Sport 7L AW Shoulder Bag, Slate Gray
● Lexar 32GB Class 10, 200x Platinum II Series Secure Digital Memory Card


22 December 2015, Tuesday

More CHRISTMAS sales


Free Next-Day Shipping

B&H is offering free next-day shipping on all these products so you can be sure to get your goodies for Christmas as well. It ends at 7AM on Dec 23rd, so don't dilly-dally too much.



Sony A6000 2-lens Bundle #1: $696 with free shipping, includes:

● Sony Alpha A6000 Mirrorless Digital Camera w/16-50mm E-Mount Lens - Black
● Sony 55-210mm f/4.5-6.3 OSS E-Mount NEX Camera Lens, Black
● Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 6 Software for Mac/Windows, DVD

Sony A6000 2-lens Bundle #2: also $696 with free shipping, includes:

● Sony Alpha A6000 Mirrorless Digital Camera w/16-50mm E-Mount Lens - Black
● Sony NPFW50 Infolithium Rechargeable 7.7WH Battery
● Sony 55-210mm f/4.5-6.3 OSS E-Mount NEX Camera Lens, Black
● Sony BC-TRW Compact 100/240V Quick Charger for Sony NP-FW50 Battery
● Sony PCK-LM17 Screen Protect Semi-Hard Sheet for Alpha A6000 Camera
● Lexar 64GB Professional Class 10 600x UHS-I U1 SDXC Memory Card



HOT: Think Tank Retrospective 40 Shoulder Bag: $39.99 after rebate (Regular $119). Also in blue at the same price after its rebate, all with free shipping.


FujiFilm Instax Mini 8 Camera and Twin Pack of instant film: $74.99 (Camera without film [$17 Value] is regularly $70)

Fujifilm INSTAX Wide 300 Instant Film Camera and 20-pack of film: $99.95 (Regular price on Camera alone is $114.95!) It may tale a while for this camera to load at the bottom of that page; free shipping, too!



Sennheiser HD7 Headphones: $129 (Regular $249), free shipping.

Audio-Technica ATH-M70X Headphones & Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 2-Input/4-Output USB 2.0 Audio Interface & Samson MTR101 1" Diaphragm Condenser Microphone with Shockmount & Pop Filter: $349 (Regular $593), free shipping.

21 December 2015, Monday

Nikon 24mm f/1.8 Review

Nikon 24mm f/1.8.

NEW: Nikon 24mm f/1.8 Review.

Optical and ergonomic perfection in a compact $750 lens.


CHRISTMAS sales keep on coming


Honestly, I haven't fond much of anything on sale at Nikon. The best deals are refurbished older models, which are always deals.



If it's before midnight NYC time Sunday night, the Canon Steals from the weekend are still the hottest thing out there.


8mm Fisheye

Rokinon 8mm f/3.5 Fisheye from $179 depending on mount, with 2% rewards:

Nikon: $199

Canon: $179

Fujifilm X: $189

Sony E: $179



Timbuk2 Swig Urban Laptop Backpack: $39 (Regular $89), also in blue and in berry, all with free shipping.

Pacsafe Toursafe LS21 21.5" Anti-theft Wheeled Carry-on: $69.95 (Regular $149), Free Shipping.



Tascam TH-02 Headphones: $16.99 (Regular $29.99), Free Shipping.

Rode Microphones RODELink Digital Wireless System: $324.99 (Regular $399 - rarely goes on sale), Free Shipping.

Audio-Technica ATH-M50x Headphones& FiiO X3 Player: $225 (Regular $368), also in white, all with free shipping.


20 December 2015, Sunday

Nikon 300 2.8 VR II Review

Nikon 300mm f/2.8 VR II.

NEW: Nikon 300mm f/2.8 VR II Review.

Optical perfection, as we expect from a $5,500 professional 300mm f/2.8 lens.


UPDATED: eBay Returns.

I just updated my page on eBay Returns as part of my How to Win at eBay series.

eBay has become much more strict in recent years, and today if you get something that's not as described or damaged in shipping, the seller has to pay to have it returned, and has to refund you everything you paid, as well as your original shipping charges.

You can buy with confidence that what you ordered is what you'll get, or eBay will make it right if the seller won't. It costs you nothing if it's not right.

Usually you just ask the seller and they'll take care of it, but in case you're dealing with a slob, eBay will make it right.



HOT: Canon 24-70/2.8 L II: $1,799 with free next-day shipping and 4% rewards.

HOT: Canon Deals with 10% rewards, many with free next-day delivery.


Lexar 32GB 800x CF Card: $33.95 (Regular $49.95)

Lexar 32GB 2,000x UHS-II U3 SDHC Card: $47.95 (Regular $79.95)

Lexar 32GB 633x Class 10 UHS-I U3 SDHC Card: $16.95 (Regular $19.95)

Lexar 32GB microSDHC 633x Class 10 UHS-I Card w/ USB 3 Reader: $14.95 (Regular $24.95)

Lexar 16GB Platinum II 300x Class 10 UHSI-U1 SDHC Card: $7.95 (Regular $12.95)


50mm f/1.1

SLR Magic 50mm F1.1 Cine Lens: $349 with free 2-Day shipping (Sony FE Mount).


19 December 2015, Saturday

New CHRISTMAS Specials!

I'm so bad; I finally figured out how to get the colors to change like that in HTML. Not bad for a non-programmer.

Thank your lucky stars that the <blink> tag is ignored by all modern browsers, or I'd be using that, too!


Sigma Christmas Specials

Sigma Christmas Specials. All include 4% back in Adorama Rewards, free shipping and several include valuable accessories.

Among these are:

Sigma 150-600mm F5-6.3 DG OS HSM: $1,799 (Regular $1,999), with $72 in Adorama Rewards!

Sigma 150-600mm F5-6.3 DG OS HSM: $989 (Regular $1,089), with $40 in Adorama Rewards!

Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM ART: $849 (Regular $949), with $34 in Adorama Rewards! Some of the 50mm lens mounts are out of stock; they ought to be in stock early next week.


Photo & Optical

Panasonic DMC-LX100 & $200 Adorama gift card: $697.99 (Selling for $697.99 elsewhere without the $200 gift card!)

MicroSync VM2TR Wireless Flash Sync Transmitter/Receiver Kit: $29.99 (Regular $84.95!), with Free Shipping.

Tamrac 5547 Adventure 7 Backpack: $39.99 (Regular $99.95), with Free Shipping.

Vortex 12x50 Binoculars & Lowepro Field Station Beltpack: $159.95 (Regular $219 + $80), with Free Shipping.


Microsoft Surface Deals

Microsoft Surface 3 10.8" Tablets with Keyboard/Cover, 128 GB: $549 (also in 64 GB for $449)

Both bundles include:

● Microsoft Sculpt Bluetooth Comfort Mouse ($24.99 value)
● Corel Digital Organization Creativity Software Kit - Elite Edition
● Microsoft Type Cover Backlit Keyboard for Surface 3 Tablet ($129 value)

The software and bluetooth mouse will be added to your cart automatically. To get the free Keyboard/Cover you need to add it to the Bundle and then add the bundle to your cart.

Also you can click "see details" by "Create Your Bundle and Save up to $160!" and ass the keyboard dock to your bundle from there.

At checkout apply coupon code 15SURFACE to drop the prices to $449 or $549 — all with free 2-Day Shipping!



Beyerdynamic DT 1350 pro headphones: $139.99 after rebate (Regular $189.99), with Free Shipping. These are the pro version of the T51i I love so much. They have more headband pressure and even deeper bass.

Audio-Technica ATH-M40x Headphones & Blue Microphones Snowball USB Condenser Microphone: $104.99 (Regular $168.99), with free shipping. Also in white and in aluminum.



Canon MF8280CW Color All-in-1 Laser Printer & Canon 131 Toner Cartridge: $189.99 (Regular $309), with Free Shipping.

Ricoh SP 213SNw 3-In-1 Monochrome Multifunction Wireless Laser Printer: $99.99 (Regular $195!), with Free Shipping.


16 December 2015, Wednesday


Photo & Optical

HOT: Think Tank Retrospective 10 Messenger Shoulder Camera Bag: $49.99 (Regular $115), with Free Shipping. These are my favorite shoulder bags; the 10 is actually quite large. Think Tank Retrospective Review.

HOT: Lowepro Edit 100 Photo/Video Bag: $5.99 (Regular $14.95), with Free Shipping. I'm always whining that no one makes a rational bag for small cameras, and here's one — for under six bucks, delivered!

Brenthaven BX2 Camera Messenger Bag: $29.99 (Regular $79.95) with Free Shipping.

Vanguard Spirit XF 10x42 Binoculars: $84.95 after rebate (regular $148.99), with free shipping.

Pelican S140 Sport Elite Tablet Backpack: $29.99 with Free Shipping. Also in green and in orange.

Timbuk2 13" TSA-Friendly Laptop Bag: $39.99 (Regular $99.95), with free shipping.

Tamrac 5784 Evolution Messenger 4 Photo/Laptop Bag, Black: $29.99 (regular $59.95), with free shipping.



Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro 250Ω Headphones: $119.99 after rebate (Regular $199), with free shipping. DT990 Review.

Sennheiser HD7 DJ Closed Pro Headphones: $139 (Regular $249) with Free Shipping.

Sennheiser HD7 DJ Headphones & Korg USB DJ Controller: $219.99 (Regular $549!), Free Shipping.

Samson SR950 Headphones: $29.99 (Regular $44.99), Free Shipping.

Blue Microphones Headphones with Amp & FiiO X3 Player: $389.99 (Regular $549),
Free Shipping.

Korg SP170 88-Key Digital Piano: $359.99 (Regular $499)


Audio Production

Audio-Technica ATW-1701L Camera- Mount Wireless Microphone System: $249.99 (Regular $449!)

Audio-Technica AT2020USB+ Cardioid Condenser USB Microphone & ATH-M40x Headphones: $149 (Regular $248) with free shipping.

Samson C01UCW USB Condenser Microphone: $34.99 after rebate (Regular $54.95), with Free Shipping.

Mackie CR4 4" 50W Creative Reference Multimedia Monitors: $114.99 (Regular $149.99), Free Shipping.



Xerox DocuMate 3120 Sheetfed Scanner: $199.99 (Regular $249) with Free Shipping.


SSD drives

Use code DECSALE015 at checkout for these prices, and all ship free — but the coupon expires tonight at 11:59PM NYC time tonight.

Samsung 850 Pro-Series 256GB 2.5" SATA III Internal Solid State Drive: $117.99 (Regular $139)

Samsung 850 EVO 500GB 2.5"SSD + Assassin's Creed: Syndicate: $137.99 (Regular $197.99)

Samsung 850 Pro-Series 512GB 2.5"SSD e+ Assassin's Creed: Syndicate: $197.99 (Regular $229)

Samsung 850 Pro-Series 2TB 2.5"SSD + Assassin's Creed: Syndicate: $809.99 (Regular $879.99)

Samsung Gear S2 Smartwatch (also in white): $199 after rebate (Regular $249); the Classic Model is $249 after rebate (Regular $299) — all with free shipping.


15 December 2015, Tuesday

Sale on Tutorial Videos

My friend Phil Steele is having a private Christmas sale on his superb courses. Phil's tutorials are the best I've seen; check out his free previews and see for yourself.

He has a 60-day no-risk money-back guarantee, so you've got nothing to lose and everything to gain. You can watch them from anywhere on just about anything, far better than a book, file or eBook.

SAVE 25%: Lightroom Made Easy.

SAVE 15%: Photoshop Basics for Photographers.

SAVE 15%: Pro Portraits with Off-Camera Flash.


12 December 2015, Saturday

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC9

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC9.

WEEKEND REPORT: Audio-Technica ATH-ANC9 Review.

Noise-cancelling headphones for airplane travel.

Funny when I classify this under "Weekend Report;" I shoot all week so my trigger finger is tired come Friday. While I look forward to goofing off for the weekend enjoying music, most folks probably look forward to the weekend to go shooting!


Weekend Snaps

Katie sledding with Caroline

Katie sledding with Caroline. (Canon 5DS R, Canon 50mm f/1.8 STM, Canon 320EX flash, f/14 at 1/200 at Auto ISO 400.)

Last weekend I was shooting my Canon 5DS R, Canon 50mm f/1.8 STM and Canon 320EX flash, and I'm really happy at how everything looks. The 5DSR is amazing, especially with daylight flash. I shoot it set down to 12MP for family photos, and my workflow is super fast and the images are ultrasharp.

Flash-fill is also superb, especially with the small and inexpensive 320EX.


11 December 2015, Friday

Hoya Filters

Hoya, the world's largest maker of optical glass, improves its filters so often that it's hard to keep up. They constantly come up with better filters, and cancel old styles faster than their online catalogs can keep up. I just got the scoop on their latest filter product line. Here are their current four grades:

HD3: World's best filters. Ultra-tough unbreakable glass, hard oil-resistant multi coatings. (the older HD2 and even older HD lines are discontinued; the HD3 is even better.)

EVO: Add an anti-static, fingerprint-resistant multi coating, but use conventional (breakable) glass.

NXT: Excellent multicoated filters, on conventional glass. Not oil or static resistant. NXT polarizers are uncoated, which is fine since we don't shoot polarizers into the light anyway.

Alpha: these use a simpler multicoating on conventional glass, and still have first-rate optics and metal rings. Alpha polarizers are uncoated, which is fine since we don't shoot polarizers into the light anyway.


Weekend Deals


Canon T5i w/18-55mm IS STM Bundle: $399 after rebates.

Canon T5i w/18-135mm IS STM Bundle: $499 after rebates.

Canon 70D Bundle: $679 after rebates.

Canon 6D Bundle: $1449 after rebates.

All bundles include:

● Canon Pixma Pro-100 Printer
● Canon SG-201 Photo Paper
● Lowepro Nova Sport 7LAW Shoulder Bag
● Lexar 32GB Class10, 200X Platinum Series II Memory Card



Tamrac 5723 Zuma 3 Photo/iPad/Netbook Bag: $14.99 (Regular $49), also in black/burgundy - with Free Shipping.



Yamaha FGX700SC 6 String Solid Top Cutaway Acoustic-Electric Guitar (Sandburst) Bundle: $299 (Regular $468), Free Shipping.


● Yamaha FGX700SC 6 String Solid Top Cutaway Acoustic-Electric Guitar
● Yamaha Guitar Accessory Pack (A-Frame Guitar Stand, Tuner, Strap, & Picks)
● Fender Mustang I v2 Guitar Amplifier with 8" Speaker


Audio-Technica AT2020USB+ USB Microphone & CAD Audio Enclosure: $149 (Regular $278!), with Free Shipping.

Audio-Technica ATH-M40x Headphones & Tascam DR-05 Recorder: $114.99 (Regular $198), with Free Shipping.

Samson C01UCW USB Condenser Microphone: $39 (Regular $54.95), with Free Shipping.


NEW AGAIN: Nikon versus Canon.

It's been several years since I last updated my Nikon vs. Canon page.

A lot has changed; Canon consistently has followed my suggestions and made each new camera better than the last, while Nikon's been flopping around on the deck simply putting more pixels in the same old camera body and putting a new model number.

Nikon has been like General Motors who for decades kept doing the same stupid thing, like having one key for a car door and expecting you to carry a different one for the ignition.

Canon has consistently addressed the things that needed improving, like power switches and Quick Control screens and battery chargers and camera-state memories so that they now are way ahead of Nikon, at least in full-frame.

The cheaper APS-C cameras all pretty similar.

No one has ever paid me to do this; these are simply the facts from a guy who's been shooting both Canon and Nikon continuously for many decades.


10 December 2015, Thursday


Tokina AT-X 11-16mm f/2.8 II AF

Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 II.

Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 for Nikon (also for Canon): $359 + $17.96 back in Adorama Rewards (was $740 in 2012) - with free shipping!

11-16mm review. The 11-16mm is a great lens, and fantastic for less than half-price. The price is a steal because of the newer 11-20mm everyone wants. People were on waiting lists at $740 for this 11-16mm when it came out in 2012.


Nikon D610 Accessory Bundle: $229 (Regular $299), with free shipping!


· Nikon MB-D14, Multi Battery Power Pack / Grip for D600 & D610 Digital Camera
· Nikon EN-EL15 Rechargeable Li-ion Battery Pack
· Nikon MC-DC2 Remote Release Cord
· Nikon ML-L3 IR Remote Control Transmitter


2 ~ 10% rewards on Sony, and this includes the good stuff.


Bag Deals-of-the-Day.


09 December 2015, Wednesday

Job Opening: The National Parks Service needs a full-time fine-art large-format photographer to document our parks!

Put down the egg nog and apply now, since the application period closes on Tuesday.


Gifts: I just updated Best Gifts for Photographers for the season.

If you get the Lupine flashlight, get it soon. It sells for $370 all year, but last year demand drove it to — and people actally paid — north of $800 for them. I have mine on my belt (you'll also need a small belt holder) and use it every day. I'd be blind without it.


iPad Pro

iPad Pro. bigger.

I'm hoping Santa brings me an iPad Pro for Christmas; I think we all are.

This bigger iPad is the slickest thing yet for editing and sorting photos in the field.

You know everyone wants one, especially anyone who spends any time with their current iPad. It should be like 2010 again when everyone gave everyone the new iPad for Christmas; even just for movies the bigger screen is always better.



Canon 100-400mm L USM: $999.99 (old model) with free shipping and $26 in Adorama Rewards (Regular $1,699).

Nikon MB-D16 Grip for D750: $299 (Regular $396), with free shipping.

Fujifilm S8600 w/ 36x Optical Zoom: $124.95 (Regular $199), with free shipping.


New City Bags

I haven't tried these 24/7 brand of bags, ostensibly created for city photographers:

Holster M: Medium-sized holster for a standard DSLR, with a built-in all-weather cover.

Holster S: Small holster for a mirrorless camera, with a built-in all-weather cover.

Messenger S: Designed for bicyclists; holds a standard DSLR set and has a padded
insert to keep things from jostling around while riding.

Pouch: Holds a superzoom camera with a built-in all-weather pouch to protect equipment from the elements.

Shoulder: For larger DSLR systems, with built-in all-weather cover.

Sling: Strap designed for slinging the bag from front to back quickly, also with side access. Padded harness and quick-adjust buckle with a separate area for personal items.


08 December 2015, Tuesday

Canon 5DS

Canon 5DS and 50mm f/1.2 L.

NEW: The Best Camera for Sports, for Landscapes, for Portraits and more!

Years in the making; I finally belted it out.

Here are my best personal recommendations for what to get to shoot any particular thing. Whoo hoo!

The 5DSR is the best camera for landscapes, but not for everything

It only took me about ten years to get to writing this. It supplements my Recommended Cameras page which suggests the best camera for general purposes. My new Best Camera article defines the best cameras based on subject matter and application.

I had a section on espionage, but took it out since this site is read internationally.



Refurbished Nikon WU-1b Wireless Mobile Adapter: $19.95 (Regular $34.95, refurbished)

Lexar 128GB Professional 800x CF Card: $87.95 (Regular $129), with Free Shipping.

Audio-Technica ATH-M40x Headphones & Blue YETI USB Condenser Microphone: $129.99 (Regular $228), with Free Shipping.


07 December 2015, Monday

1941 Pearl Harbor Attack

First thing Sunday morning on December 7th, 1941, Japan launched an attack on Pearl Harbor that killed thousands of Americans and crippled the American fleet.

Some of these ships are still underwater, and I hadn't realized this until I visited The Arizona Memorial earlier this year, but it's still actively leaking oil and American bodies still lie trapped deep inside.

Oil Slick U.S.S. Arizona Memorial

Oil Slick, U.S.S. Arizona Memorial, 20 February 2015. (Fuji X100T, f/5.6 at 1/550 at Auto ISO 200, Perfectly Clear v2.) oilier.

The Japanese were trying to scare America away from our helping to defend China and stop Japan's attempts at taking over much of the Pacific. Japan had been at war with China since 1937 (and before) and thought that by taking out the US Navy so expertly that they could do whatever they wanted in the Pacific.

Little did the Japanese realize that the next morning, Monday, December 8th, 1941, my Uncle Gale and thousands of other Americans eagerly signed up for the Navy. Uncle Gale, having just turned 17, served for many years after the end of WWII. He just turned 91 last week.

Nikon made big binoculars and huge rangefinders used on battleships as well as optics for bombsights. Nikon made no cameras back then; it was only after Nikon was disbanded after WWII that Nikon wondered what to do next and started making rangefinder cameras.

Zeiss and LEICA made military optics as well as 35mm cameras during WWII. Canon made 35mm cameras. Fuji made military optics and aerial cameras.

Hasselblad's first camera was a copy of a captured German aerial camera; Sweden used these new copies for its own aerial work.

While we're on history, don't forget that last night was:


25 Kislev 5776: 1st Night of Hanukkah 2015

Tonight is the first night of Hanukkah, which of course we remember because Ryan was born on the first night of Hanukkah 5767. Thus Ryan gets two birthdays, since it's so easy to remember when it is on the Hebrew calender. Even though we're not Jewish, we figure Ryan is because we got him as a Hanukkah present.

Even crazier, I didn't realize this until about a year ago, but even Jesus celebrated Hanukkah!

The event remembered at Hanukkah, the dedication of the new altar completed on 25 Kislev 3622 after the Maccabees reclaimed their temple, happened about 150 years before Jesus. I kid you not; right in John 10:22 it says that they were celebrating the Feast of Dedication, which is what Hanukkah was called back then. Aha!

OK, enough history for today, let's get to something new:


NEW: Hasselblad Extension Tubes.

Hey, it's a slow Monday morning.


04 December 2015, Friday

2016 Workshops

Backlit Tufa during Brilliantly Glorious Sunrise, Mono Lake

Sunrise over Mono Lake as seen on our Eastern Sierra trip.

I just added the dates and links for several 2016 workshops to Route 66 and Yosemite that I'm teaching.

See you in February on Route 66!




Nikon D5100: $299.99, with free shipping (refurbished).


Canon SL1 w/18-55mm IS STM & 75-300mm: $399 after rebate

Canon 24-70mm f/4L IS: $799 + Free Shipping (Regular $999), with $31.96 in Adorama Rewards.

Canon G16 bundle: $249 after rebate

Canon T5i w/ 18-55mm IS STM: $399 after rebate

Canon T5i w/ 18-135mm IS STM: $599 after rebate


Olympus 40-150mm R: $99 + Free Shipping (Regular $149) (also in silver)l comes with three year drops & spills warranty & $3.96 in Adorama Rewards.


Sony A7S & $200 gift certificate bundle: $2,298 + Free Shipping.

Bundle includes:

· Adorama $200.00 Gift Certificate ($200 value)
· Sony VG-C1EM Vertical Grip for a7 and a7R a7s ($298 value)
· Sony NPFW50 InfoLithium Rechargeable 7.7Wh (1020mAh) Battery ($49.95 value)
· Sony BC-TRW Compact 100/240V Quick Charger ($36.99 value)
· Lowepro Nova Sport 7L AW Shoulder Bag ($39.95 value)
· SanDisk 64GB Class 10 U3 Extreme Plus SDXC UHS-I Memory Card ($49.95 value)
· Sony PCK-LM15 LCD Protector ($11.99 value)
· Corel Digital Organization Creativity Software Kit ($149 value)


Music Performance

Fender American Deluxe Telecaster Electric Guitar (Aged Cherry Burst): $1,049 with coupon code NGUITAR33 at checkout (Regular $1,699)


Music Recording

Audio-Technica ATH-M50x Headphones: $99 (Regular $169)

Audio-Technica AT2020USB Condenser mic w/headphone jack: $99.00 (Regular $149)

Audio-Technica ATH-M40x Headphones & Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 USB I/O: $139.99 (Regular $248.99)

Korg SP170s Digital Piano: $379.99 (Regular $499.99)

Mackie CR3 3" 50W Monitors: $69.99 after rebate

Mackie CR4 4" 50W Monitors: $109.99 after rebate.

Sennheiser ClipMic w/ ME 2 Capsule for iOS devices: $139.00 (Regular $199)



Free Assassin's Creed Syndicate & 32GB Evo+ MicroSD Card with the Purchase of Select Samsung SSD Drives.


03 December 2015, Thursday


Sony Zeiss 35mm f/1.4 FE

Sony Zeiss Distagon T✻ 35mm f/1.4 FE.

NEW: Sony Zeiss 35mm f/1.4 FE Review.

Lets me shoot under moonllight — hand held!




SALE: The Fuji X100T is now only $1,099.95 at Adorama, at Amazon and at B&H.


Big sale on a few lenses and Canon flash today at B&H


Lowepro Nova Sport 17L AW Shoulder Bag: $14.99 (Regular $49.99), Free shipping.


Nikon D5300 with 18-55mm VR II: $449.95 (Regular $699), refurbished —  you will also get back $9 in Adorama Rewards, all with Free Shipping. Good while supplies last.


Nikon D7100 with WU-1 WiFi: $479 (Regular $599), refurbished, & $9.58 in Adorama rewards and Free Shipping. Good while supplies last


Up to a $200 Adorama Gift card with select Sony cameras & lenses.


What Was New in:

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