28 December 2013, Saturday
NEW: Minolta SRT-101 Review.
Well, not exactly my usual long-winded full of hot air reviews, but at least some anchor pages as I shoot more with the SRT-101 I just got from my pal Richard, who couldn't sell it even on eBay. I'm amazed; Minolta made so many of these and they are so durable that there are so many more out there that work well that they sell for peanuts.
Don't laugh: a little over 40 years ago when I bought my first 35mm SLR I would have died if I could have afforded an SRT-101!
24 December 2013, Christmas Eve
Merry Christmas to all! merrier.
The top two shots were with a Sony A7, 1987 LEICA SUMMICRON-M 50mm f/2, 1/60 at f/2 at Auto ISO 200. They were file shots from earlier this month while playing with the A7. The self portrait is exactly that; Ryan wanted to try the self timer and we rested the camera on a chair.
I shot the two bottom posed family shots on Sunday with my 5D Mk III, Canon 24-70/2.8 L II and 430EX II flash, all on a tripod. Besides the usual ease of getting everyone to smile at once (Molly even peed on Ryan we were having so much fun), it was a bear to light the family on no notice.
It was night, so there was no light other than the dim orange 40W bulbs in a chandelier. I pointed my flash up at the ceiling, which mostly hit the orange walls. I added a white Post-it note to the flash as a catch light. The chandelier lights weren't even lighting us, they only shone up and bounced off the orange walls.
I shot the bottom two at f/5.6 at 1/30 at ISO 3,200. This let the ambient light provide most of the light, with the flash filling in the rest since the chandelier was directly on top of us.
I had to shoot at 2,700 Kelvin white balance since the light was so orange from the 40W bulbs.
I had to gel my flash with both a CTO and 1/2 CTO gel to get it to balance the ambient light. It was still too blue; tough.
I ran all the shots through and Athentech Perfectly Clear to clean them up. Athentech Perfectly Clear almost always improves my photos. I as shot the Canon shots in JPG+RAW just in case, but didn't need the raw files; the JPGs were fine. I hit the JPG+RAW option just in case I needed to rescue anything due to my own stupidity, quite likely with the boss yelling to "just take the picture." The bottom shots are still way too red; tough. If I hadn't gelled the flash, our faces looked purple from the blue flash and orange ambient light!
23 December 2013, Monday
It's not too late
I believe all my approved sources from which I get my own things are offering free overnight shipping so you can still shop today for Christmas. Sure beats driving!
For instance, you can get the secret deals of a Canon 6D at Adorama for $1,499; all you have to do is add it to your cart and keep going through the checkout process for the price to drop magically. Since I use it every day, I prefer the 5D Mk III, which is also only $2,699 as you actually check out. Secret deals just for you; I paid $3,500 for my Mark III last year!
Olympus 35 SP
Olympus 35 SP.
20 December 2013, Friday
NEW: Nikon Df Review.
I've completely re-written it over the past 36 hours with all new data and illustrations based on my past month of shooting. Of course I dumped the Df and grabbed my 5D Mk III for snapping the kids at their Christmas concerts where I want great photos, as opposed to a collectible camera to use with my relic F-Mount lenses.
19 December 2013, Thursday
Need cash? Don't forget that Adorama pays top dollar for your used gear.
Adorama's blowing out a whole bunch of the hottest Canon gear at prices too low to last any length of time. Catch them while you can! Note that most of them are secrets, and require you to start the checkout process to see your actual low selling prices.
Canon 5D Mark III for $2,699! Includes free US shipping and 2% rewards. To get this special price, hit ADD TO CART, then hit CHECKOUT.
Canon 5D Mark III with 24-105L IS for $3,239! includes free US shipping and 2% rewards. This secret price is not shown until after you hit PROCEED TO CHECKOUT.
Canon S110 with 8GB SD Card & Canon Leather Case: $190! Includes free 2-day US shipping. This secret price is probably not shown until after you hit PROCEED TO CHECKOUT.
Canon 16-35mm f/2.8L II for $1,329 after rebate! Includes free US shipping and 2% rewards. This secret price is probably not shown until after you hit PROCEED TO CHECKOUT.
Canon 24-70mm f/4L IS for $899 after rebate! Includes free US shipping and 2% rewards. This secret price is probably not shown until after you hit PROCEED TO CHECKOUT.
Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L II for $1,699 after rebate! Includes free US shipping and 2% rewards. This secret price is probably not shown until after you hit PROCEED TO CHECKOUT.
Canon 40mm f/2.8 STM for $129. Includes free US shipping and 2% rewards.This secret price is probably not shown until after you hit PROCEED TO CHECKOUT.
Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II: $1,799 after rebate! Includes free US shipping and 2% rewards. This secret price is probably not shown until after you hit PROCEED TO CHECKOUT.
Canon SL1 DSLR Body with Lowe-Pro bag and 16GB Lexar card, for $369! Includes free US shipping and 2% rewards. This secret price is not shown until after you hit PROCEED TO CHECKOUT.
Canon 70D for $979. Includes free US shipping and 2% rewards. This secret price is probably not shown until after you hit PROCEED TO CHECKOUT.
Canon T5i with EF-S 18-55mm IS STM for $699. Includes free US shipping and 2% rewards. This secret price is probably not shown until after you hit PROCEED TO CHECKOUT.
Canon T3i with 18-135mm IS for $679. Includes free US shipping and 2% rewards. This secret price is probably not shown until after you hit PROCEED TO CHECKOUT.
To get this price:
1.) Click on the item bundle (price reads $3,899) and click ADD TO CART.
2.) A window pops up with a whole bunch of free stuff that's added. The price still reads $3,899. Scroll down and click CHECKOUT at the bottom of this window.
3.) You see a whole list of items in your cart, and the price still reads $3,899.
4.) Click PROCEED TO CHECKOUT. The price drops magically to $3,349, which is what you pay. Shipping is free, at least in most of the USA.
Canon T5i with 18-135mm IS STM for $849.50 (Regular Price $1,049.00), includes Free US Shipping and 2% rewards. (follow the tricks above to get the special price.)
Sony RX10, open box, for $937 with free shipping. Regular Price $1,049.00.
17 December 2013, Tuesday
Stuck on what to get your favorite photographer? Here are thoughtful ideas everyone will love.
Want a great DSLR for $349 - with lens? Get a refurbished D3100 kit! That's what I'd buy my mom if she asked and tell my friends who ask for a great camera for normal people. (Actually mom's getting a used Nikon N55 for Christmas. She prefers real pictures and her last one broke.)
Recommended Canon Lenses
You asked, so here's the couple of Canon full-frame lenses I actually use and suggest.
16 December 2013, Monday
Nikon D5200 Users Guide App.
Whew! This app took almost a year to develop to be sure it looks awesome on iPad, iPhone and iPod and the various OSs.
Nikon D5300, Sony A7 and Nikon Df
I have my new D5300, but haven't gotten to it yet. I was shooting my Sony A7 all weekend, as well as my Nikon Df. My own LEICA M typ 240 should be here soon, too, so I can finally complete the review I attempted to start in October with a loaned unit.
Fast take on each camera:
The Sony A7 is better than the LEICA M typ 240 for available-light reportage, portraiture, people, action and street photography with the EVF because the Sony just works better — with excellent full-time, full-frame manual focus assist. The Type 240 is better for careful nature and landscape work because the LEICA lenses work better with its sensor; adapted LEICA lenses on the A7 aren't as sharp, especially on the sides and corners, as they are on the typ 240. The A7 charges from any USB port in your car or from AC power or from a USB backup battery in your pocket, while oddly the LEICA's battery lasts longer.
The LEICA M typ 240 is like a Rolex or a Ferrari, and owned by the same discriminating crowd. A LEICA is not for regular people. No one buys a Rolex to tell time or a Ferrari to take kids to school or get to work. The LEICA is bigger than taking pictures, just as any Casio G-Shock keeps better time, is more legible and more reliable than a Rolex.
The Df is also a special camera for the man who knows what he likes. If you're a casual buyer who selects a camera based on features, price, specifications and test reports, get a D610 for less money. If you're a seasoned shooter who knows what you love, you'll prefer the Df. I love mine; the Nikon Df is the most revolutionary Nikon since the Nikon F4 of 1986; even the world's first practical DSLR, the Nikon D1 wasn't revolutionary; it was simply evolutionary. Only the D1's price was revolutionary, not the camera. In the Df, we have the world's first original DSLR that isn't simply a regurgitation of an existing 35mm SLR, as the D1 was a digital adaptation of the Nikon F5 and the D2 was a version of the Nikon F6.
When things slow down I can add my usual excruciating factual detail to each review. Of course my 5D Mark III and 50mm f/1.2 L is what I grabbed today when I finished writing this and actually needed good photos in my son's classroom; the 5D Mark III is superior to anything digital from Nikon or LEICA.
Nikon's best flash, the SB-400, has become more difficult to find. Some say Nikon stopped making it, which is no big deal since you can buy all you want from Adorama from stock, or used at eBay. Unlike digital cameras, flashes should be bought gray market; you're not going to need service or firmware updates for them.
The SB-400 is exceptional. Canon has nothing to compete with it, and the Nikon SB-300 is crummy by comparison, too.
13 December 2013, Friday
Last few hours: These were supposed to have expired yesterday, but they still seem active:
To get these secret deals, you have to start the checkout process. You'll see higher prices on their pages and in your cart until you hit ADD TO CART and then hit CHECKOUT:
12 December 2013, Thursday
Sony LA-EA4 Adapter.
I also just got my Sony A7 less than 24 hours ago. I posted some quick sample shots. I'm loving it; it's better made than the LEICA M typ 240; the M typ 240's EVF is made in China out pf plastic, while the A7's finder is part of the camera which seems like solid metal.
11 December 2013, Wednesday
Nikon 58mm f/1.4 G.
06 December 2013, Friday
Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8.
TDK A33 Bluetooth Speaker.
A fantastic bluetooth speaker — practically free!
More Christmas Deals
Wow! Here's what you really want for Christmas. These are what I shoot when I want it done right and aren't wasting my time testing some baloney camera.
Want to know what I shoot? Here you go:
World's best DSLR: Canon 5D Mark III with 24-105mm f/4L IS: click Buy Together and Save, add the Pixma Pro100 printer for $3,347.00 price after mail-in-rebate. Heck, I paid more than this for just my 5D Mk III body!
The Canon tele I shoot myself: Canon 70-200mm f/4L IS USM: Price at Checkout $1,199.00, Final Price after mail-in-rebate: $999.00. 70-200/4 IS review. I haven't seen it this low since I bought mine back in 2007!
More great stuff:
Sony SLT-A58 and 18-55 and 55-200mm, HVL-F20M Flash: Price after $50 Adorama Gift Card $498.00.
All these prices always move up and down, so get them while you can.
04 December 2013, Wednesday
NEW: Nikon D610 review.
As expected, a super camera, just like the D600, but without the overblown oil spot fiasco.
03 December 2013, Tuesday
My wife had a dream about me — so I'm in trouble!
You married guys know the drill: you're guilty for whatever you do in your woman's dream just the same as if you really did it. I know you're going get a kick out of what I did last night in my wife's dreams.
As you know, my wife's real job for decades has been pharmaceutical sales. She's extremely good at running around to doctors' offices all day helping them learn about whatever drugs or biotech product she's peddling. That's why I can sit here and help people learn about photography instead of working a real job: because my wife earns the real cashola.
Anyway, in her dream she instead sold cameras door-to-door! She sold to both friends and strangers. She placed the camera orders with her company who shipped them to our house, and she then went out and delivered them personally the next day: just like selling Burpee Seeds or Girl Scout cookies. Don't you love what devious predicaments our own brains concoct for ourselves? Whose side are we on anyway?
All was going well because she's one of the world's top salespeople. She had loads of orders, and loads of cameras came and went each day as she sold boatloads.
There was only one teensy-weensy problem in her supply chain: I was taking the cameras out of their boxes as they arrived and testing them! Boy was she ticked when she went to deliver her cameras, and discovered that her shipping boxes were empty because I was piddling with them!
She was really in trouble because there was an awesome sunset, and all her friends were taking pictures of it — except for the friends whose cameras I had all taken aside to test!
I was all over it; the cameras she sold were all different and I wanted to test each one. I even tried to tell her that I was helping her customers by ensuring all their cameras were AOK, and that they should be thanking me — except that there was this awesome sunset and all her friends wanted the cameras they had ordered!
Heh heh, I couldn't make this stuff up if I tried.
Sorry about all the deals, but here are more today:
02 December 2013, Monday
I shot mine all weekend, and should have my review updated later this week.
Capsule summary: fast frame rate, no oil spots, and just like the D600, AF gets stuck in the dark and needs its built-in AF Illuminator.
Sigma 18-35/1.8 DX
I also have this Sigma in for review, look for it later this week.
Cyber Monday Deals
Nikon D7000 for $699 new or for $649 refurbished. The D7000 is my top pick for the best DSLR for serious shooters on a budget. It's essentially a DX D610, for 1/3 the price. When I have one or the other in my hand, I can't even tell which I'm using except if I look at the label on the front — or through the finder, in which case the two cameras have the same AF system, but the AF areas cover almost all of the finder in my D7000 instead of just the central region of the D610. I prefer any of these to my D800E or D4 because of their U1 and U2 modes that let me recall all my settings for different kinds of shots instantly.
Canon 5D Mark III mega-kit with 24-105mm L IS, 70-300mm IS USM and 40mm f/2.8 STM, Canon 600EX-RT Flash, 32GB Class 10 SDHC Card and Camera Bag: Reg $5,396.00 Price at checkout $4,399 with Free Shipping and 2% Adorama Rewards.
Canon 6D mega-kit with 24-105mm f/4L IS, 70-300mm IS USM and 40mm f/2.8 STM lenses, Canon 600EX-RT Flash, 32GB Class 10 SDHC Card, and Camera Bag: Reg Price $3,896.00 Price at checkout $2949.00, includes Free Shipping and 2% Adorama Rewards.
Canon 70D mega-kit it with 18-135mm IS STM, 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS and 40mm f/2.8 STM, Canon 600EX-RT Flash, 32GB Class 10 SDHC Card and Camera Bag: Regular Price $2,992.42. Price at checkout $2,149.00 with Free Shipping and 2% Adorama Rewards.
Canon T5i mega-kit with 18-55mm IS STM, 75-300mm III and EF 50mm f/1.8 II, Camera Bag, 16GB SDHC Card, USB Card Reader, Tripod, and Adorama Memory Card Case: Regular Price $1,266.75. Price at checkout $859 with Free Shipping and 2% Adorama Rewards.
Canon T5i mega-kit with 18-135mm IS STM, 75-300mm III, and 50mm f/1.8 II, Camera Bag, 16GB SDHC Card, USB Card Reader, Tripod, and Adorama Memory Card Case: Regular Price $1,466.75. Price at checkout $999 with Free Shipping and 2% Adorama Rewards.
Canon T3i mega-kit with 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II, 75-300mm III, and 50mm f/1.8 II lenses, Camera Bag, 16GB SDHC Card, USB Card Reader, Tripod, and Adorama Memory Card Case: Regular Price $723.00. Price at checkout $649 with Free Shipping and 2% Adorama Rewards.
Canon SL1 mega-kit with 18-55mm IS STM, 75-300mm III, and 50mm f/1.8 II Lenses, Adorama Flash, Camera Bag, 16GB SDHC Card, USB Card Reader, Tripod, and Adorama Memory Card Case: Regular Price $1,149.00. Price at checkout $699 with Free Shipping and 2% Adorama Rewards.
Canon T3 mega-kit with 18-55mm IS, 75-300mm III, and 50mm f/1.8 II Lenses, Camera Bag, 16GB SDHC Card, USB Card Reader, Tripod, and Adorama Memory Card Case: Regular Price $764.00. Price at Checkout $529.00 with Free Shipping and 2% Adorama Rewards.
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