Flashback Friday: “Grandma’s Rollers” 😀

Good morning everyone! For your #flashbackfriday here’s a real flashback from almost 12 years in time! It’s 2007. Grandma sits with her granddaughter. She’s someone who has always kept up appearances, I was happy I finally caught Grandma with her rollers 😀

I don’t think Grandma ever saw this photo, and if she did she probably wouldn’t like it but I love the shot because it’s a candid shot of a loving moment which I’m always trying to do with people portraits 😍

For this shot I used a Minolta Maxxum 7D which used the amazing Sony 6.1mp sensor. As you may or may not know, this sensor or variations of it were used in other famous models most notably the Nikon D70 and the Epson R-D1. Perhaps even the Pentax 100D among others.

But just as amazing is the Minolta 85mm f/1.4 G lens which to me was as good or better than any 85mm out there! I’m not talking technical quality, but on an aesthetic level it was made for portraits!

To me, Minolta came closest of any of the Japanese companies to getting that third spot with Canon and Nikon. They fought hard and gave us some great cameras and lenses.

Unfortunately Minolta as we know it, folded camera production in 2006 with the camera division sold to Sony. But guess what? With Sony hugely popular in the camera game, and by some accounts number three behind Canon and Nikon, “Minolta” lives on after all as Sony! 😎👍🏻

Get some shooting this weekend guys, time moves fast! 😎📷😘✌🏻

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Sunday Shooter: Sony A7r & 35mm f/2.8 Carl Zeiss Biogon Samples

Somebody asked me the other day if I still shoot digital and I said of course Daddy! I always take both a film camera and a digital camera with me almost everywhere I go!

If you’ll note most reviewers in my age bracket who grew up on film and were young enough to appreciate digital when it came out, we have no problem shooting both. It’s mostly the hipster kids who shoot film exclusively even though they were not around during the film era. Kinda funny I think! 😊

Below are some examples from the original Sony A7r 36mp and the Carl Zeiss 35mm f/2.8 Biogon in Contax RF mount. Please forgive the funky colors in some of these shots I just posted them as is for you to check out. The only ones I processed were the black and whites.

“Cold Cold World” 2018. Sony A7r, 35mm f/2.8 Carl Zeiss Biogon for Contax RF.

The Sony A7r was my last major digital purchase. I use it to test vintage lenses. For the past couple of months it’s been the Carl Zeiss 35mm f/2.8 Biogon.

All I can say is what I’ve told you guys before…the 35mm f/2.8 of any make is such a boring lens that I’d never consider buying one, except for the Zeiss Biogon of course!

Besides It’s the only decent normal/wide angle I can get for the Contax RF and fairly cheap. But optically, I’m not sure it’s any more exciting than any other 35mm f/2.8 lens 🙂

“JuJu 13” 2018. Sony A7r, 35mm f/2.8 Carl Zeiss Biogon for Contax RF. Some of you who remember me from the photo forums might remember this kid. It’s my nephew JuJu! And he’s no longer a baby, he’s 13! 🙂

“Wheels Up” 2018. Sony A7r, 35mm f/2.8 Carl Zeiss Biogon for Contax RF. A good dude raises a toast 🙂

“Brave Bull” 2018. Sony A7r, 35mm f/2.8 Carl Zeiss Biogon for Contax RF. Something about alcohol knocked “Brave Bull” out 🙂

“Razor’s Edge” 2018. Sony A7r, 35mm f/2.8 Carl Zeiss Biogon for Contax RF. You need to get pretty close to induce some bokeh out of the Biogon but the bokeh is fairly neutral and though not full of character, it’s not distracting either at least to my eyes.

“Funky Town” 2018. Sony A7r with Carl Zeiss 35mm f/2.8 Biogon Contax RF mount. The kids said “Papa, take me to Funky Town!” 🙂

This is not my final verdict on the lens by any means. I still need to see how it does on film. This is an old lens that was made for film.

As for the A7r I don’t see myself upgrading to any of the latest and greatest. They can try to sell me all the #bs about why the newer models are better but honestly my only complaint about the old A7r is poor performance with ultra wide lenses which I don’t use much on this camera. And I’ve yet to get a native AF lens for the camera.

Otherwise this camera gets the job done! What’s your Sunday shooter? Happy Sunday good peeps! 😎📷😘✌🏻

Photo Of The Day: “Cold Cold World” Part II Sony A7r & Contax 35mm f/2.8 Biogon

In anticipation or celebration of the complex snow storm that’s hitting the Northeast here’s a shot from my latest test lens. According to the weather report, it’s going to be much colder than this in the next couple days!

It’s the 35mm f/2.8 Carl Zeiss Biogon. No it’s not one of the new modern day iterations. It’s the old lens made for the Contax rangefinder cameras.

The Sony A7r was one of my last major purchases when it came to modern day digital cameras. I bought it in 2014. I mainly use it to test out vintage lenses. It gives me an idea what I might expect when I use the lenses on film bodies.

As I said many times here, I’ve always found the 35mm f/2.8 a rather “boring” lens in the sense that a 35mm f/2 is much more interesting to me. There were so many generic 35mm f/2.8 lenses back in the film era that I’m convinced it’s not that hard for a decent optical manufacturer to build a good one and thus it shouldn’t be expensive.

That’s why, as I explained in my Contax T2 video, even the 38mm f/2.8 on the T2 is quite a general lens which was only made special due to the Zeiss design and T* coatings. However, for the old Contax rangefinder this is about as wide as I’m going to get without spending a fortune so it completes my set for the Contax RF, ie, 35mm/50mm/135mm 😊

There’s more to this lens and its history, including several different versions of the same lens and compatibility issues with some Contax bodies, of which I’ll get to in a future posting.

For now what I will say is that it’s a very good lens, surprisingly good on the A7r. A bit boring on digital which tells me it’ll be GREAT on the Contax film bodies I’m currently shooting it with!

Till next time, stay safe and have a great day!

Monday Mystery Camera…Solved! 😀

If you’ve been through as many cameras as I have, chances are you’re going to forget some of them! I know some of you folks have been through this!

Here’s a shot from a few years back. I’m going to say maybe 2010 or 2011?

Because it was out of focus, I never posted it and in a moment of brain fog I had a hard time figuring out which camera it was.

I originally thought it was a Yashica GSN or Olympus SP or maybe even a Nikon S series rangefinder, but I quickly figured it wasn’t one of those.

I posted this a couple of months ago on my Instagram account to see if other camera lovers would chime in and help me figure it out.

I think everyone who chimed in made an educated guess and I was impressed with their answers. I came to the conclusion that it was probably a Leica M3 based on a guess of what I was shooting with at the time.

So what is this “Mystery Camera” in the blurry photo? As it turns it really is the Leica M3! The M3 and 50mm f/2 Summicron-M.

As it turns out, I had another frame that I scanned and hadn’t seen in years. I cannot locate the original negative but I’m willing to bet this photo was sequential to the above photo. The hair might look different but sometimes I part my hair out of my eyes 🙂

I’m not sure if you can see it here but the “M” can be partially seen above my right middle finger. And the lens says “Leitz Wetzlar” very clearly.

The smaller rangefinder windows in the blurry photo is just an optical effect, an optical illusion.

I always tell people, even though I doubt they believe me, but my camera selfies are not a narcissistic love fest! 🙂

Firstly, I’ve done them for years as a way of checking critical focus. Secondly, as in the case here, they help me remember the camera and lens I used! And the fact that people like looking at photos of cameras? Well, that’s just an added benefit!

Happy Monday folks!

The Nikon D700 Revisited…The Ten Years Later Review

The Nikon D700 is a 12.1 megapixel, full frame Digital SLR released by Nikon in July 2008. Today, we will look back on the D700. I will share with you my impressions on its image quality, performance and its impact on the world of photography.

AS A CAMERA

There’s a lot of pages with all the specs but I’ll just list a few key features. The camera has a 12.1 megapixel full frame sensor. The shutter speed range is 30 seconds to 1/8000 plus Bulb. Flash synch at 1/250. It has a native ISO range of 200-6400 plus 100-25600 via boost.

My war-torn 200K plus D700 still kickin’ it! 🙂

The D700 also has Live View but it’s first generation and it shows. It looks a little jittery and if you move it around there’s an apparent lag, but once on target it works fine.

The camera is capable of 5fps on its own and 8fps with optional grip. The camera uses the Nikon EN-EL3e battery.

The D700 is a pro quality DSLR and for all practical purposes is a more compact Nikon D3. There are slight differences between the D700 and D3 to be sure, but image quality is exactly the same as they both use the same sensor.

The D700 arrived on the market at a lower price than the D3, increasing its appeal and affordability to both professionals and enthusiasts alike.

TIMELINE

In 2007, Nikon released the D3, a professional 12.1 megapixel DSLR, and its first full frame digital camera. Their previous kingpin was the D2X/D2Xs a with its 12.4 megapixel APS-C sensor.

After years of stating that they would not make a full frame DSLR, and getting their hardcore base to rally around that, Nikon surprised everyone with the release of the D3.

In my opinion, the Nikon D3 is the camera that saved Nikon and brought it back, alive and kicking butt into the second phase of the digital revolution. But that’s a topic for another review. Today, we are talking about the D700.

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“Time Out” 2008. Nikon D700, 50mm f/1.8 AF-D Nikkor. Baby gets into a hair pulling moment as a result of having to take “time out” 🙂

MY EXPERIENCES WITH THE D700

I got my first D700 in July of 2008. Rarely do I get a camera in the same month it was released. So how did I come upon the D700? Simple, just like many of you, I climbed the ladder of camera ownership!

And what does that mean? Well, before the D700 I was using a 12.3mp Nikon D300 which was released with the D3 in 2007.

I was perfectly fine with the D300. In fact, I was impressed with its performance and the fact that it was APS-C didn’t bother me. I read about Nikon’s reasoning as to to why they were not going to make a full frame camera and even though I thought they were just in denial or just making excuses for why they wouldn’t make one, I accepted it.

Then the D3 came out and I was surprised and happy they made a full frame DSLR, but I just couldn’t afford the hefty $4999 price tag, even though the price was well in line with professional cameras of the time. So I was resigned and content to stay with the D300 as I already had a full frame Canon EOS 5D Classic.

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Gear Lustin’ in 2008! My two main digital cameras in 2008, the Canon EOS 5D Classic and the Nikon D700, seem to have come full circle in 2018!

In comes the photo forums…

As I’ve said here before, I was on the forums just like you guys! Photo.net, Rangefinderforum, Fredmiranda.com, etc.

I won’t say which one, but near the end of July of 2008, I saw a fellow forum member advertise a new D700 he had just gotten and wanted to sell for whatever reason. At over $2000, it was still a hard sell for me financially, but the fellow said he was willing to take a “D300 plus cash.” Hot dog! Bang! This might be my opportunity so I PM’d the guy and since he was local, all the better.

So I go and see the guy. We had some cool camera talk, checked out the cameras, and we had a deal. I handed over the D300 plus a little cash and I walked out with a near new D700! I hate to say it, but I said to myself…wow, Samster, somehow you managed to do it again! 🙂

Anyway, the love was short lived as I used the same ladder to climb up to a D3 in 2009 when G.A.S. attacked! I sold my D700 and eventually the D3 too.

I got the D700 again in 2016 when I noticed an unusually low price online. And the prices continue to fall making this a great time to try one! If you’re interested I’ll list the trending prices down below.

IMAGE QUALITY

In my opinion, the Nikon D700 is capable of superb image quality, especially at lower ISOs.

What I liked…

“Apples” 2018. Nikon D700, 85mm f/1.4 AF-D Nikkor. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree and by having the same 12.1mp sensor, the D700 offers the same excellent image quality as its big daddy D3.

Rich colors and tones. A certain depth to the images that might be attributed to the sensor, the processing, etc. I can’t say for sure what it is, but I call it the Magic Sensor.

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“Red, Green & Gold” 2008. Nikon D700, 110mm f/2 Zeiss Planar via adapter.

There’s also a pleasing balance of sharpness and smoothness to the images which make it perfect for portraits and people photography, one of my favorite forms of photography.

Of course, if you’re a landscape shooter you’d probably be better off with a higher resolution camera but you didn’t need me to tell you that! 🙂

Fuji Instax SQ10 Camera

THE MAGIC SENSOR

I call the D3/D700 sensor the “Magic Sensor” because it just seems to bring images to life. I used to think it was just the full frame sensor, but now ten years later I know it is not, or at least not exclusively a result of the sensor alone but I sure believe the full frame sensor is a factor.

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“Magic” 2016. Nikon D700, 60mm f/2.8 AF-D Nikkor. The D700’s “Magic Sensor” seem to bring everything to life. Well, a happy smiling baby helps I guess! 🙂

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“Uh Oh It’s Magic!” 2008. Nikon D700, 50mm f/1.8 AF-D Nikkor. The 50mm f/1.8 Nikkor already offers decent bokeh but a full frame sensor takes it a step further making f/1.8 look even smoother.

There are cameras I have used in today’s world, such as the mirrorless Olympus OM-D EM-5 that also seem to provide similar, rich and colorful images despite the much smaller sensor.

So perhaps it’s a combination of sensor plus whatever processing the camera is doing to the images. Perhaps it’s just how far we have come in digital camera technology that some mirrorless cameras can achieve a full frame “look” that I have not seen in first generation mirrorless cameras.

I know what you’re thinking…it’s all in the lenses! That’s partially true, but in this case I’m not just talking about bokeh or shallow depth of field. Just the whole image, everything in it.

In these two cameras, the magic is comparable both in Jpeg and RAW.

PERFORMANCE

The D700 offers speedy and accurate AF as would be expected from what is essentially a D3 in smaller form. The Multi-CAM 3500FX autofocus module with 51 AF points is more than enough to handle almost anything even today, in my opinion.

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“Gimme A Break” 2008. Nikon D700, 70-210mm f/4-5.6 AF Nikkor.

The 12.1mp sensor might seem small in today’s world, but if you’re not shooting detailed landscapes or billboards for some ad campaign you’re going to be fine with the resolution. The sensor in my opinion is particularly well suited to portrait and people photography but is also well suited to street or any other kind of photography you might aspire to.

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“Shoot!” 2008. Nikon D700, 50mm f/1.8 AF-D Nikkor.

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“Thoth” 2008. Nikon D700, 50mm f/1.8 AF-D Nikkor. A NYC Central Park mythical figure named “Thoth.” Considering this tricky lighting, the D700 Matrix metering fared well giving a usable exposure that would look even better with a little work.

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The joy of taking pictures is contagious! Nikon D700, 85mm f/1.4 AF-D Nikkor. Just look at the woman’s hair and skin. The D700 offers just the right balance of sharp and smooth.

The D700 is fine with modern AF-S lenses but is also “old school” in the fact that it can drive those old AF lenses that need to be screw driven like, for example, the 85mm f/1.8 AF-D lens.

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“The Kid’s American” 2018. Nikon D700, 85mmf f/1.4 AF-D Nikkor. The D700’s fast AF caught this young man before he ran off, which was a split second later 🙂

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“Toto” 2008. Nikon D700, 70-210mm f/4-5.6 AF-D Nikkor.

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“Granny Love” 2008. Nikon D700, 50mm f/1.8 AF-D Nikkor.

The large and clear 95% coverage viewfinder also make it a good choice for using those wonderful old AI Nikkors. Do NOT use it with Non AI lenses or you may damage the camera and/or the lenses.

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“Noon” 2017. Nikon D700, 50mm f/1.2 AIS Nikkor.

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“Night Buddy” 2017. Nikon D700, 50mm f/1.2 AIS, ISO 3200. The D700 does an excellent job at the “high” ISO of 3200.

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“Smile!” 2018. Nikon D700, 85mm f/1.4 AF-D Nikkor.

Because of the superb image quality and the ability to comfortably use manual focus lenses, I view this camera today as sort of a Poor Man’s DF but without the ability to use Non AI lenses.

BOTTOM LINE

The Nikon D700 took the legend of the Nikon D3 to the masses and became a Camera Legend in its own right.

The D700 gave more Nikon users a chance to see what full frame digital was all about and in doing so, hooked users in with excellent imaging capabilities in a strong, robust body.

Even today in 2018, with all the full frame cameras Nikon has put out since 2008, the D700 is still highly regarded and is considered a digital camera classic.

If your goal is to capture great pictures and you’re not interested in 4K video, focus peaking, and whatever else today’s cameras offer, then the Nikon D700 will still deliver the goods and is one of the two cheapest full frame bodies you can get today.

ALTERNATIVES

The main alternative for the Nikon D700 is the 12.8mp Canon EOS-5D Classic. As someone who has used both extensively, I can say with confidence that you can’t go wrong with either! But if you really want me to nitpick, here’s what I have experienced with these two Camera Legend cameras.

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“Brother 700” 2008. Nikon D700, 45mm f/2.8P Nikkor. The Nikon D700 does well with manual focus lenses such as the 45P seen here which is why the Brother calls it the “Poor Man’s DF” 🙂

The 5D images appear somewhat sharper, but the D700 has richer tones and colors. The D700 body is much more refined, feeling like a more mature product, as it should be for a camera from 2008 versus a camera from 2005. Autofocus is faster on the D700 as should be expected.

The D700 does better at higher ISOs. Images hold up better though I don’t mind the grit and “grain” of the 5D Classic images at IS0 3200.

At low ISOs, both cameras still deliver superb results showing that back as far as 2005 digital cameras were already awesome!

Again, if you’re invested in the Nikon system or the Canon system, that should be your main consideration and not the cameras themselves. Both cameras rock!

AVAILABILITY AND WHERE TO BUY

If you’re looking for the Nikon D700 (or the 5D Classic) this is a great time to pick one up! The D700 is plentiful on the used market so you shouldn’t have a problem getting one.

Prices for the D700 are trending now at $400-700 depending on condition, package, etc.I say just get the cheapest one you can as long as you buy from a dealer you can trust.

I’ve heard about the below $300 D700 bodies, but as of today, they are rare and most likely beater bodies. Average seems to be $450-525 USD for ones in good to excellent condition. If you’re going above $600, I would seriously consider one of the newer bodies, ie, D600, D610, or even the D3 of which prices have come down significantly in the past couple of years.

I got my latest one in 2016 for under $400. It was in cosmetically Good condition. Little did I know it had over 200K shots on it! But, knock on wood, two years later and a few thousand shots later she’s still shooting unlike my bought NEW in 2012 Olympus OM-D EM-5 which kicked the bucket last year at approximately 5K
shots.

The cheapest D700 bodies would probably be found on eBay (Direct D700 Link)

Alternatively, here’s your Canon 5D Classic link on eBay (Direct 5D Classic Link)

Another good place to find both is our trusted affiliate Here.

Thanks for reading and I’d be glad to hear from any fellow D700 owners!

Photo Of The Day: “Apples” Nikon D700

The image above was shot with a Nikon D700 and 85mm f/1.4 AF-D Nikkor. This is not a gear posting however. It’s what I call a “Life” posting 😊

Friend, it’s that time of the year again! Time to pick them apples 🍎

This is the time when the “empire” state and the “Big Apple” really live up to their names 😊

The kids enjoyed picking them apples and so did I but I wondered, considering the “fill as you can” bag cost us more than what I could get at the local store, it may be a little fresher but is it really any better? 😊

Not sure but I did enjoy the apples! If you have an apple farm near you, time to go before it’s to late guys! Happy Sunday!

Canon EOS M 18mp (Original) Images

With the recent release of the Canon EOS R system, and the Nikon Z6/Z7 just before that, it seems that these big two Camera Legends have finally embraced the mirrorless camera segment.

Fans and critics (myself included) have complained that the big two did not give it their all when entering this market back around 2012.

Instead, their initial offerings, Canon’s 18mp EOS M and Nikon’s 10mp V1 and J1 respectively, seemed more like an appeasement to their base and to those who might otherwise have been enticed by mirrorless pioneers Olympus, Panasonic and/or giants like Sony. But this criticism seems to have been rectified with the new full frame mirrorless releases.

Today, we will look at some images from the EOS M, Canon’s first foray into the mirrorless camera segment.

The 18mp EOS M was praised for its APS-C sized sensor and image quality but criticized for its slow, subpar AF. Not what Canon fans expected.

As mentioned before on this site, I’ve had my EOS M since 2013. I only got one when they were having a close out sale which included body and the 22mm f/2 STM lens for under $300.

I’ve used it sparingly over the years. Somehow, I never sold it. The turtle slow AF was reason enough to sell it but I think it’s the camera’s image quality when combined with that superb 22mm f/2 STM that made it a keeper for me. All pics here, unless otherwise noted, were made with the M and 22mm f/2 lens.

Looking on these pics now, it does make me think quite hard about how I might acquire one of the new full frame mirrorless bodies from either Canon or Nikon 😊

But don’t sweat it folks. I stand by my statements that I no longer crave the latest and greatest but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t consider the new cameras once the prices come down 😀

There is something great about the older EOS M and you know what that is? Despite its slowish AF, the camera is capable of excellent images and…It can be found on the used market for MUCH cheaper than the new EOS R! Have a great day good peeps!

“Kiss” 2015. Canon EOS M, 22mm f/2 STM.

“Funnel” 2018. Canon EOS M, 22mm f/2 STM. I’m not a huge fan of “state fair” type food, including funnel cake, but the light on that plate was delicious 🙂

“Ride” 2018. Canon EOS M, 22mm f/2 STM. Note, the EOS M gives images that at first glance are reminiscent (in a good way) to photos from the latest generation iPhones, such as the iPhone X., in terms of color and sharpness. Of course, with an 18mp APS-C sensor, it also offers higher detail retention and resolution.

“Hey You!” 2014. Canon EOS M, 22mm f/2 STM. This photo was shot using the built in “Miniature” Creative Filter. The filters can be fun if used sparingly.

“AMC” 2018. Canon EOS M, 22mm f/2 STM.

“Elmwood” 2018. Canon EOS M, 22mm f/2 STM. The 18mp EOS M is capable of excellent night shots, low noise and good retention of details.

“Turbulence” 2018. Canon EOS M, 22mm f/2 STM. In my opinion, the EOS M original is not well suited to action shots due to its turtle slow AF. But a shot like this is easy for the M 🙂

“Boy Wonder” 2018. Canon EOS M, 22mm f/2 STM. The 22mm f/2 STM is capable of nice portraits with good bokeh, provided your get in close and your subject can stay still for the shot 🙂

“Primates” 2018. Canon EOS M, 22mm f/2 STM. Manila, Philippines.

“What You Want?” 2013. Canon EOS M, 22mm f/2 STM.using the EOS M’s Grainy B&W Filter.

“Ghetto Blaster” 2013. Canon EOS M, 22mm f/2 STM. Many people rave about the Olympus B&W art filters, but to me the Grainy B&W filter on the EOS M is better!

“Flower” 2018. Canon EOS M, 22mm f/2 STM. The versatile 22mm f/2 STM is capable of “florals with bokeh” as well as street work.

“Bottled Water” 2018. Canon EOS M, 22mm f/2 STM. Manila, Philippines. They sure love their purified water in this country and in hindsight they were ahead of the game on this! But a lot has to to with not wanting to get sick from that tap water 🙂

“Twisted Sister” 2018. Canon EOS M, 22mm f/2 STM. Farmingdale, NY. The pic says it all 🙂

“AutM Leaves” 2015. Canon EOS M, 22mm f/2 STM.

“Hello, Goodbye” 2018. Canon EOS M, 22mm f/2 STM.

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