March & April 2017's News
28 April 2017, Friday
Updated: Canon 14mm f/2.8 L II.
27 April 2017, Thursday
Mini Book Review
Marc Silber's Advancing Your Photography is a better than average photo book that tries to help you see and make better pictures.
While no one has ever written a book that fully explains creative synthesis (as opposed to analyzing existing images or explaining technology), Marc has a couple of chapters that stress and explain the critical importance of visualization and the importance of worrying more about your photo than about your gear. In fact, it specifically call out the two biggest barriers to good photography, which are 1.) wasting your time worrying about your gear, and 2.) wasting time trying to adhere to "rules."
When I've never seen a book fully illuminating creative synthesis, which why and how to envision exactly what you want your image to be before you create it, Marc touches the subjects more than most. All the books I've seen talk about this, but none ever gets to the core of exactly how to create; creation is still a divine thing like consciousness itself. Many people have talked about or creative synthesis, but no one has ever described exactly how to create, or explained what is consciousness We can talk for days about consciousness, but no one has the foggiest idea of where it comes from, how does it develop in a baby, what it actually is if you had to create it yourself, or where it goes when we die.
So while Marc's book does have chapters filled with talk about apertures and ISOs and lenses and computer screen shots like every other camera book, the good news is that there is some meat about how actually to put all this to good effect.
Marc also covers the rest of the story, which is how to display and promote your work. Every nerd has a book about photo software; Marc's book goes beyond by covering what to think about before you pick up your camera, and what also to do with your work once it's completed.
For those of you who like to read, you might want to check it out, especially chapter 2, chapter 4 and chapter 6.
26 April 2017, Wednesday
Sony RX10 Mk III Sale
Sony RX10 Mk III: 24~600mm.
It was $1,498 when it came out, quickly rose to $1,598 under heavy demand, and is now down to $1,398. It's the perfect one-camera to take on safari and any other general use where you need a long lens. It's fast and has great fill-flash sync speed, too, which is why I love it so much.
New Medium Format Digital from Fuji
21 April 2017, Friday
New Sony A9 now orderable
The Sony A9 is a $4,500 camera that moves Sony even further up the market, eating away at what Nikon used to be.
It runs 20 FPS silently with tracking AF and AE, it has 24MP full frame, has AF points covering most of the frame, and the highest resolution EVF ever. Nikon hasn't done anything innovative or even had a fully new camera for years, Canon makes the world's best DSLRs, and Sony is pushing mirrorless to new levels of performance.
New Sony Accessories:
Manfrotto Befree One Aluminum Ultra-Compact and Lightweight Tripod: $99.88 (Reg $149), also in Gray and in Red.
VIOFO A118C2 Full HD Car Dash Camera with GPS, 1920x1080, 30fps: $59.99 (Reg $84.99)
Lenovo Flex 4 15.6" Signature Edition 2-in-1 Full HD IPS Touchscreen Notebook Computer, Intel Core i7-7500U 2.7GHz, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD, AMD Radeon R7 M460, Windows 10 - Refurbished by Lenovo: $639 (Reg $899)
20 April 2017, Thursday
New DJI Copters
19 April 2017, Wednesday
New from Panasonic
LEICA VARIO-ELMARIT 8-18mm f/2.8-4 ASPH für micro 4/3. It's a 16~36mm equivalent ultrawide.
New Tripod Mounting-Plate Tool
Check out the Thinguma K-532 tripod mounting-plate tool. It's Made-in-USA and fits on your keyring.
It has a wide blade for easy attachment of Arca Swiss mounting plate screws, and has a narrower tip for the 5/32” and 4mm hex screws used by Really Right Stuff and others.
14 April 2017, Friday
NEW: Nikon D7500.
Updated: History of All Nikon DSLRs.
07 April 2017, Friday
06 April 2017, Thursday
Nikon 19mm f/4E Tilt/Shift.
NEW: Nikon 19mm PC-E Review.
NEW: Zeiss 135mm f/2.8, also at Adorama. See also its shade.
03 April 2017, Monday
My Fuji X100F should arrive Wednesday, after which I can tell you what I think. I currently have no page, but Google thinks I do and tries to send you to a nonexistent HTTPS address. All my pages are good old-fashioned HTTP.
Good Bye Popular Photography Magazine
I hadn't even noticed they stopped a month ago, canceling the print magazine and no longer updating their website.
I've been reading Modern Photography magazine religiously every month since at least 1972! Modern was the better of two very similar competing magazines. Since advertisers always had to spend dollars on both magazines each month, Pop bought Modern back in the 1980s and my Modern subscription became a Pop Photo subscription. Oh well, but I've been reading Pop religiously every month since then.
Heck, I even went to my public library and read all the old Modern and Pop magazines back to the 1950s and 1940s. I didn't usually read any further back than that, but I've absorbed it all for over 50 years.
I put this website on the air in 1999 — before any practical DSLR had ever shipped and back when "digital" meant you scanned your slides. With the Internet, the magazines became sort of a waste of time, with them putting out three-month-old news about cameras and reviews. It was sad; the best they could do in print sometimes had a camera that had already been superceded come out printed as a hot new review!
Pop eventually gave up trying to make a living reporting on cameras and smartened up and tried to give more useful information about what people really need to know, like lighting, but today, no one cares.
While I still subscribe to Pop, I don't even read it. I still have a stack of plastic-wrapped issues from a year ago I haven't read yet. I'm not sure if I'm getting a refund for unsent issues or if I'll get another magazine as an apology, much as I got Pop when they bought out Modern.
Of course they cancelled it; no one reads it. Print, like retail, is obsolete. Print is great for a fine-art book; back in the good old days Pop had a gravure section featuring someone's work each month, but for news, who are you kidding? I'm astounded there are still printed newspapers, all freshly printed — with day-old news.
See my article on Why Film Isn't Going Away. While we will always have newspapers and AM radio and film and buggy whips, they will become much smaller niche products.
There is no more beautiful shape than a woman's body, which is why naked women have been the most popular artists' subject for all of the 20,000 years we've had art. Before Playboy magazine went mainstream, photo magazines were polite men's magazines, loaded with photos of naked girls. Back in the day, getting a photo mag was the closest way any decent man could get away with having nudie photos around his family. Photo magazines were much more relevant for this reason in the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s. Even through the early 1980s, camera ads were loaded with girlie pictures; I recall Nikon's Eyes of Nikon book chock full of photos of half-nude girls. Come the Internet, there's no way print photo magazines could thrive without girls in them.
Back in the day, these magazines are where any of us first learned about new cameras. I remember checking every issue as it arrived at my house to see what new goodies Nikon announced each month back in the 1970s — back when Nikon was number one.
Everything changes. Today, Nikon has fallen way behind, and modern technology lets us see the news immediately. All print magazines do is fill the local dump. Since no one reads them, who cares?
Being such a loyal reader I've always been amused that my website has always had way more traffic than Pop Photo's website — and they have a lot more writers than just me by myself! Maybe it's because I say it like it is because I don't take any money from camera makers for advertisements, so when Nikon has crummy telephone support or makes their lenses cheaply in China or has new camera models like the D5600/D5500 or D3400/D3300 which are the same as the 2-year-old models, I just say it.
I really respected Herbert Keppler. He was writing for Modern since the 1950s, and went to Pop when they bought Modern, and Herbert Keppler kept writing every month until the day he died in 2008. I got to meet him, and what would impress me is how he always said it — even in print — like it was. I realized that he had seen it all come and go, and could sort out what was meaningful from what was just fluff. I do the same thing; I've been doing this since back when having a coupled light meter, automatic flash synchronization or a coupled rangefinder was the hottest thing in photography.
I also really respect that Herbert Keppler was on their masthead every month in various positions since the 1950s, and even after he died has been there, listed as "in memoriam." Last I checked, he's still there. That's staying power!
Things are supposed to change. Don't let yesterday waste too much of today.
01 April 2017, April Fools Day
Good Bye Gasser's SFO
So another old camera store goes out of business. So? I'm surprised we still have retail camera stores, but seeing how we still have rotary-dial phones and milkmen today in 2017, who knows?
I've been studying the decline of retail camera stores since the 1970s when I started buying everything over the phone from Adorama and B&H. Yes, I've been buying from them for 40 years each; they've had better prices and availability on everything far better than any local store for that long.
Retail camera stores have been as relevant as rotary dial telephones since the 1970s. Some people won't let theirs go, but they were obsolete by the end of the 1970s to those of us in the know, and completely irrelevant today. Yes, even rotary phones are still 100% compatible with telco land lines (you even can do call forwarding etc on them!), but no informed and reasonable consumer wastes their time with them today - rotary phones or retail camera stores. We still have milkmen today, too; but they're a curiosity, not main stream.
As far as stores go, online gives better service, better stock, availability, better advice, and they all have cash-back return policies so we can try any gear in own hands in our own environment - 100 times better than wasting resources driving to a store to look at something just inside the store.
There's nothing more local than my iPhone in my hand and free delivery right to my doorstep; it's simply selfish and wasteful to support retail camera stores (unless they are carry things really special that you can't get elsewhere) and expect people to have to pollute and spend time to get there one by one — as well as all the waste in having all these little local stores all over the place. The UPS truck makes its rounds regardless if there's anything on it for me. Buying online is the most local and environmentally conscious option there is, even if better price, service and availability weren't enough.
Rotary dial phones have been in use for over 100 years, and still work today. Nothing personal, but a camera store going away after 67 years is no big deal. Some stores have been around a lot longer than Gasser's was and are still going strong today; obviously Gasser's lacked the ability to adapt to an ever changing world. Competition is good; the people who used to work at Gassers can now get more productive jobs and the space can be used for something far more relevant.
Like I want to try to get around SFO to buy whatever might be in stock when I can order anything on my phone from anywhere and have it arrive whenever, wherever I want? Have some people never heard of Amazon? Geesh; I even can order all my vacuum tubes or Super-8 movie film online. If Amazon can come out of nowhere and sell ancient goods better than retail, then good riddance to retail.
30 March 2017 Thursday
HOT: Canon & Fuji Rebates!
28 March 2017 Tuesday
HOT: Canon 5D Mk IV & 7D Mk II Rebates!
Perfectly Clear Version 3
Perfectly Clear now magically locks-on to faces and optimizes the image accordingly:
And one click later after Perfectly Clear V3 at its default settings:
Not only is her face now properly exposed, we didn't lose the background, and her eyes are brighter and sharper!
Ryan Singing. He's got cocoa powder on his face to look like dirt on a gold miner. Canon 5DSR, Canon 100-400mm IS L II at 114mm at f/4.5 at 1/125 at Auto ISO 1,600, Perfectly Clear V3. bigger or full resolution.
Perfectly Clear V3 brings out the eyes and makes it more lifelike, all with just one click and no need to fiddle with portrait modes or outline faces; it does all this at its defaults! Of course you can fiddle all you want in Perfectly Clear, but the important point is you don't have to. Ryan's concert was an hour ago, and I'm long done with the photos and off to something else.
Exclusive Deal on Perfectly Clear
There's a new version 3 of Perfectly Clear software coming out on March 29th, and the cool thing is that they're giving you, my readers, a very special price no one else gets if you order it before it comes out on the 29th.
The price, only for you guys and only if you order before next Wednesday the 29th, is $79. if you wait, it's $129.
What's new about this version is that it not only looks for and optimizes faces, it now also sets the exposure for the frame based on those faces. If you have a shot with a dark face and light background, voilà, it sets exposure for the face and preserves background detail at the same time.
I use Perfectly Clear on just about all my photos. It makes my photos look better faster than anything else I've tried. It's great for landscapes and industrial work, and also fantastic at automatically making portraits & people look great, doing all the things automatically in one click that other software demands people manually show the software where the faces are.
Yes, I can do most of this manually in Photoshop, but it takes much longer. Time is money for me, and in one click Perfectly Clear usually nails everything and I'm off to my next photo. Photographers shoot; we don't waste time in front of computer screens.
Sure, the 70-200mm f/2.8 FL is tougher and bigger and heavier and focuses faster, but this Nikon 55-200mm VR II has a wider zoom range, has a much better macro reproduction ratio (gets closer), is much smaller and lighter and it collapses for easy storage.
Here's what Nikon doesn't want you to know: both of these have excellent optics. The 70-200 FL isn't any sharper; just look at my 55-200mm sample images.
For DX cameras, I LOVE my 55-200 VR, and I paid a lot more. Sure, I might like the FL for my FX cameras, but on my D3300, the 55-200mm DX rules. Pay twenty times more for the FL if you don't mind carrying five times the weight to get only 78% of the zoom range, but for actual shooting, I love the 55-200mm.
27 March 2017 Monday
Fuji Specials at Adorama
Most of these Fuji specials include 4% Adorama Rewards.
Fujifilm X-T1 & $31.96 in Adorama Rewards: $799 ($500 off) with free shipping.
Fujifilm X-T1 & free goodies: $799 ($500 off) with free shipping.
Fujifilm X-T1, Graphite and $39.96 in Adorama Rewards: $999 ($500 off) with free shipping.
Fujifilm X-T1, 18-55mm and $47.96 in Adorama Rewards: $1,199 ($500 off) with free shipping.
Fujifilm X-T1, 18-55mm & Free Accessories: $1,199 ($500 off) with free shipping.
Fujifilm X-T10, 18-55mm and $35.96 In Adorama Rewards: $899 ($200 off), also in black, all with free shipping.
Fujifilm X-T10, 16-50mm and $27.96 in Adorama Rewards: $699 ($200 off), also in black, all with free shipping.
Fuji Specials at B&H
Fujifilm X100T: $1,099 ($200 off).
Fujifilm X-T1: $799 ($500 off).
Fujifilm X-T1 Graphite: $999 ($500 off).
Fujifilm X-T1 w/18-55mm: $1,199 ($500 off).
Fujifilm X-T10: $599 ($200 off).
Fujifilm X-T10 w/ 16-50mm Lens: $699 ($200 off).
On Wednesday, March 29th B&H will be hosting a live stream event with a panel of filmmakers at 1 PM NYC time.
24 March 2017 Friday
Panasonic G7 w/14-42mm, free $150 Adorama Gift Card & $23.92 in Adorama Rewards: $597.99 with free shipping. Also in silver. Expires midnight Sunday night, 26 March, NYC time.
23 March 2017 Thursday
New from Think Tank
Think Tank has announced their Signature Shoulder Bags, which seeing how much I love my Retrospective bags, will definitely be worth a look, especially because when you order yours you'll get free shipping and probably even some free goodies as well!
Think Tank is the world's top maker of pro bags. They're the real thing.
Deals expiring at midnight NYC time
HOT: Tokina 12-28 f/4 for Canon APS-C: $199! ($250 off!!).
Oben travel tripod: $199.95 (save $130).
22 March 2017, Wednesday
NEW: Nikon D3400 Review.
It's a fantastic little camera: pro results from a tiny, inexpensive and quiet camera.
A plain-English and explicit explanation of how to use the Nikon D3400.
A plain-English and explicit explanation of how to use the Nikon D3400's AF system.
HOT: Nikon D5200 w/18-55mm VR: $379.95, refurbished, with free shipping.
See my Nikon D5200 review and Nikon D5000-series cameras compared. As you'll see, the D5200 is the same as the newest D5600, just that it weighs 3 ounces more and lacks a touch screen and Bluetooth. It's got the same image sensor, AF system, flip screen, stereo mic and everything else that matters.
This is what I mean when I say Nikon hasn't introduced any really new cameras in years; this D5200 is the 95% same as the thyrochondrotomies newer D5600!
Kenko Extension Tube Set for Canon: $79.99 (Reg $109), with free shipping.
21 March 2017, Tuesday
Atomos Shogun Flame 4K HDMI/12-SDI 7" Recording Monitor Bundle: $1,295 (Reg $1,695), Free shipping.
Bushnell 8x42mm Trophy XLT Water Proof Roof Prism Binocular: $59.99 (Reg $99), free shipping.
Apple AppleCare 3 Year Extended Protection Plan for 15" / 17" MacBook Pro: $219 after rebate (Reg $299).
Apple AppleCare 3 Year Extended Protection Plan for MacBook /MacBook Air /13" MacBook Pro: $149 after rebate (Reg $249).
Apple AppleCare 3 Year Extended Protection Plan for iMac: $94 after rebate (Reg $149).
Apple AppleCare 3 Year Extended Protection Plan for Mac Pro: $149 after rebate (Reg $249).
Apple AppleCare 3 Year Extended Protection Plan for Mac Mini: $49 after rebate (Reg $99).
D-Link DIR-865L Wireless AC1750 Dual Band Gigabit Router: $34.95 (Reg $54.95), free shipping..
18 March 2017, Saturday
UPDATED: Nikon D810 Review.
Seeing how Nikon hasn't introduced any really new cameras in almost three years, I brought my D810 Review, especially with a controlled set of test image files at every ISO setting, up to date.
GRAIL FOR SALE: Nikon 13mm f/5.6 at eBay.
The 13/5.6 is Nikon's most amazing lens ever, and it's also their rarest. Get this one while you can. See How To Win at eBay. This looks like a legitimate deal, so pay via PayPal and you've got nothing to worry about — and might be able to resell it for more!
Looks like this listing makes unauthorized use of some of my copyrighted text, but otherwise looks like the real deal for a real lens from a real dealer. Seeing the condition, the price is completely reasonable. Go for it!
Sigma 135/1.8 Update
The new Sigma 135 f/1.8 Art is now orderable.
Personally I'd get either of the exquisite professional Canon 135/2 L or Nikon 135/2 DC (or inexpensive manual-focus Nikon 135/2 AI-s) long before I stooped to Sigma since I know the pro (camera-brand) lenses will serve me for decades and decades and not become incompatible or break some dinky internal plastic part in 8 years after the warranty expires, but hey, don't let me stop you from enjoying this new Sigma — which costs more than any of the pro lenses.
16 March 2017, √10 Day (3.16)
Loving the iPhone 7 Plus
While some things, like shooting birds three miles away or catching star trials require a DSLR, for 80% of what we shoot, the iPhone 7 Plus, with its three built-in cameras and three fixed lenses (one f/2.2 front camera, one wide f/1.8 28mm-equiv. rear camera and a second normal f/2.8 56mm-equiv. rear camera), the iPhone is a fantastic second or backup camera for use along with our DSLRs. Here are two snaps from yesterday:
New Irix Lenses
SLR Magic 8mm f/4 Lens for Micro 4/3: In stock and $50 off.
10 March 2017, Friday
13" MacBook Pro w/Touch Bar: $1,549 (Reg $1,799), with free shipping.
Also available with Apple care: $1,749 (Reg $1,998), with free shipping.
3D printer deals
3D Systems CubePro Trio 3D Printer: $2,199.00 (Reg $4,399), with free shipping.
3D Systems Cubify Sculpt Software for Windows, License Code: $64.99 (Reg $129), with free shipping.
More Outdoor Deals
Here are a few categories with a lot of deals still left:GPS deals at B&H
09 March 2017, Thursday
DealsSony A7S II body & kit deals.
Rokinon 14mm f/2.8 full-frame ultra-ultrawide for Nikon ($279), for Canon ($249) and for Sony E ($249), all with free shipping. Limited supply at this price.
Manfrotto XPRO Monopod & Platypod Mini Tripod: $139.99 ($178 if bought separately), with free shipping.
Canon G9 X Price Drop
Canon G9 X & Free Watson Battery: $399 with Free Shipping & 2% rewards.
Outdoor Gear Close-out
B&H is getting out of selling outdoor gear, so a lot of their outdoor gear is on close-out at up to 50% off. It's selling out fast, and there are deals there for people willing to poke around for them.
08 March 2017, Wednesday
Elinchrom Ranger Quadra Hybrid with Lead Acid Battery & Quadra Action Flash Head: $999 with free shipping. Power Pack alone is regularly $1,389!
Lenovo 15.6" Notebook: $319.99 (Reg $399), Free shipping.
Meural Canvas Frame, Lightbox $645 (Reg $695), free shipping. (Use Promo Code 50OFFMURL at checkout.)
06 March 2017, Monday
New Photo Tours & Workshops
I have the dates and information for two of my 2017 trips:
18-21 May 2017, Thursday ~ Sunday: Spring Light in Yosemite.
26-29 October 2017, Thursday ~ Sunday: Autumn Light in Yosemite.
We also do another Eastern Sierra trip immediately before or after the October Yosemite trip, and you should do both if you're going to do one — but I don't have the exact dates for that yet.
See you there!
Platypod Pro Max Plate Mini Tripod:
$89 (Reg $99), free shipping.
ORLIT RT-600C TTL RT Speedlite For Canon: $129.95 (Reg $169), Free shipping.
GoPro HERO5 Black with Free GoPro 3-Way, 3-in-1 Mount: $399 w/free shipping.
GoPro Hero5 Session with Free GoPro 3-Way, 3-in-1 Mount: $299 w/free shipping.
03 March 2017, Friday
New From Blackmagic Design
● Super-35mm CMOS Sensor
02 March 2017, Thursday
NEW: Sony A7 Mk II Review.
The A7 Mk II is the best buy ever in full-frame Sony.
UPDATED: All Sony Cameras Compared.
Nikon ME-1 Stereo Microphone: Reg Price $179.00, Sale Price $109, Free Shipping.
Green Extreme Sony NP To V Mount Battery Adapter: Reg Price $59.95, Sale Price $39.95, Free Shipping.
Polk Audio MagniFi Sound Bar System: Reg Price $299.95, Sale Price $199.99, Free Shipping.
Fender Limited Edition 120V '68 Amp: Regular Price $1,199.99, Sale Price $899.99, Free Shipping.
Beyerdynamic DT 990 Open-Back 32Ω Headphones: Reg Price $299, Sale Price $159.00.
Acer K2 K242HQL Bbd 23.6" Monitor: Regular Price $109, Sale Price $89.99 - $10 Mail in Rebate = Final Price $79.99, with Free Shipping.
Brenthaven Collins Sleeve Plus Shoulder Bag: Reg Price $59.95, Sale Price $19.99.
01 March 2017, Wednesday
NEW: Nikon D5600 Review.
One of the best cameras available at any price — but it's just a D5500 with Bluetooth. The D5500 is also a top camera.
New Olympus Rebates for March. Not only are there big price reductions, but they also include 4% rewards.
Manfrotto ML240 Mini-24 On-Camera LED Light with Dimmer: $19.99 (Reg $79). Free shipping. While supplies last.
GoPro HERO Session Camera Bundle: $179.99 (Reg $199), free shipping.
● GoPro HERO Session Action Camera
Ricoh SP C250DN Color Wireless Laser Printer: $69 (Reg $109), Free shipping. Expires 3/2 - Limited supply at this price.
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