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“Patriots” 2015. Canon EOS-1D Mark III and Yongnuo 50mm f/1.8 EF lens clone. The Yongnuo deserves a review in its own right! πŸ™‚

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“The Razor’s Edge” 2016. Canon EOS-1D Mark III, EF 85mm f/1.8

Hello my friends, I hope you are enjoying your Fourth Of July weekend! Just quickly a couple of items.

About ten years ago, 2006, Canon released perhaps their most controversial 1D body and that body is the 1D Mark III. Many of you will remember the whole AF “controversy” which involved the camera not focusing correctly, sometimes even on easy shots. This was a no-no for a pro sports/journalism market that had come to rely on Canon’s renowned autofocus.

Anyway, people sent in their cameras for a fix, sometimes multiple trips to Canon repair. It was a mess. Although Canon apparently fixed the issue, many are convinced even today that the camera was never “right.”

Well, you know I’m probably the king of doing the unexpected, so I got one about a year ago as the prices have come down to a price one could afford. I plan to do my own review of this camera shortly after having ample experience with it.

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“Say Cheese” Sony A7R and Vivitar 35-105mm f/3.5 low budget lens.

I’ve also been trying out a lot of oddball lenses such as the Vivitar 35-105mm f/3.5 on my A7R. I got this lens for $5 dollars and was attracted by the constant f/3.5 aperture and of course, the low price πŸ™‚

I have to say that I’ve been pleasantly surprised by it! It may not be the sharpest knife in the drawer, but it is sharp and has a surprisingly useful “macro” or “close range” mode which I used for the portrait above. The lens flares like crazy outdoors however and not necessarily the prettiest flare.

The lens was apparently built by Tokina, which may explain its hefty build. It’s the current “in” lens on my A7R so I hope to post more pics from it soon.

Anyway, please enjoy the rest of your holiday weekend and don’t let it pass too fast! πŸ™‚

 

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Camera Spotting Part I

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Spotted this Sony A6000 while walking around Best Buy. Wow, this camera looked so much better in silver/black than I thought it would! I personally find silver digital cameras a little cheesy looking, but this one is HOT! πŸ™‚

I was going to do this one as a Flashback Friday post, but I really can’t because these are not “flashback” cameras. Instead, they are very current cameras that are riding on this “retro” trend that we have seen in the past few years. Anyway, I am not in the market for these cameras at the moment, but I liked seeing them.

Have you seen a camera at a shop or hanging on someone’s neck that really caught your eye? If so, I would sure love to hear about it or drop me a link to your photo pages.

I hope to expand this series in upcoming postings. Have a good weekend my friends πŸ™‚

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Spotted a new Canon G9X is silver/orange trim. Cool and funky and indeed “dramatically different.”

SOME NEW CAMERA DEALS

Our friends at Adorama passed along some current deals they are having. Just quickly running through them, I said, wow wish I had the money. Especially on that G16, that’s a very nice price for a hot camera!

Some serious savings in here if you’re in the market for any of this stuff. I’m just going to pass along the information as I got it:

Canon PowerShot G16 Compact Digital Camera Bundle

$249 after $350 MIR

CANON G16.

This is quite a deal, every other place has the G16 for at least $379!

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Canon EOS Rebel T5i DSLR Camera with EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM Lens

$399 after rebate

Canon EOS Rebel T5i and EF-S 18-55mm Kit.

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Canon EOS Rebel T5i DSLR Camera with EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM Lens

$599 after Rebate

Canon T5i and EF-S 18-135mm Kit.

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Canon EOS Rebel SL1 DSLR Camera with EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM Lens

+ Canon EF 75-300mm lens

$399 after rebate

Canon SL1 with EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 STM.

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

Black Friday pricing is still active on the SSD’s!

Link to all:

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

Free Shipping. Expires Sunday 12/06

Hope some of you can take advantage of these savings!

PhotoPlus Expo Show Report Part II: Canon, Nikon, Sony, Etc

The Leica SL (Typ 601) was the Big Daddy for me at this year’s PhotoPlus Expo, no doubt. I mean, after that, where do you go? πŸ™‚

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The Leica S and SL gallery of images.

Anyway, I know there’s a lot of other “fish in the ocean” so I’ll try to give you guys a rundown of other things I saw. This is Part II and my final show report for this year’s expo, but it is by no means a “complete” report of the show, it would take way too much time to do that and I’m sorry if I left out anything someone might have been interested in. I leave the complete reporting for sites like dpreview, etc, etc.

CANON

Canon had all their big guns out as well as their hot new lenses. Obviously, the camerasΒ getting the most attention were the Canon 5DS and 5DS R, their 50 megapixel super DSLRs.

I tried the 5DSr and low and behold…it looks and feels like a 5D! I don’t know what else to tell ya! It feels good, it’s dependable, it’s a 5D series camera. Nothing super exciting, but you know it’s going to get the job done.

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Trying out the new Canon 5DS R, 50.6 megapixel champion with the 24-70mm f/2.8 II. Nice combo!

The Canon rep did ask, to my surprise, if I wanted to put a card in there and try it out. Of course, I didn’t have a card on me! All these years I’ve gotten used to the idea that manufacturers won’t let you put a card in their demo cameras so I didn’t bring one.

But I don’t regret it. What will I get? Some boring pics of the crowd at the expo? All the samples I need, I can find on the web anyway.

Canon did have some really nice large prints showcasing the capabilities of these cameras.

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Prints from the Canon 5DS and 5DS R. I walked right up to the print and saw hairs on the model’s nose. That’s resolution for you! πŸ™‚

They looked gorgeous, superb, but not mind-blowing. I’m not taking anything away from these incredible 50mp cameras, but I didn’t think the prints were anything that you couldn’t do with today’s crop of 20+ megapixel cameras. It’s really a new day in photography when one has a hard time being impressed with 50mp prints!

I did ask the Canon representative if there was a 1DX replacement coming any time soon. The 1DX is nearly five years old now and seems due for an upgrade. The answer was that they do not know. Are you surprised? πŸ™‚

Canon also had all their new lenses out, and I had a good time looking at them, although it’s not like I’m going to be getting any new lenses any time soon.

NIKON

Nikon had their usual DSLR lineup at the show. Of course, the D4s was there, the Df, and surprisingly the very old D3X was also on hand.

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“I AM GENERATION IMAGE.” Nikon’s new cool slogan πŸ™‚

All their big daddy lenses out for all to drool and fool around with. Nothing new as far as I can see.

Actually the coolest thing I saw at the Nikon booth was the retro looking black and silver J5 mirrorless camera πŸ™‚

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Coolest Nikon at the show! The retro looking Nikon J5 mirrorless.

UPDATE 11/01/15:Β Just want to pass along some info for our Nikon fans out there that I have been informed of HUGE instant rebates going on for a limited time. You can check out all the Nikon deals HERE. From what I can see some of the instant savings are up to as high as $1100!!Β on certain Nikon camera/lens combos. If you’re looking to buy new Nikon stuff, this is the time to do it!

You may also find the Nikon deals HERE. While browsing/dreaming, I was amazed at the deals and wish I had the funds! For example, you can now get a new Nikon D7100 for close to the price of a USED D7000. This is a screamin’ deal for some of Nikon’s hottest cameras and lenses.

SONY

I had a good time checking out the new Sony A7RII and A7SII, I couldn’t get my hands on the RX1R II due to lack of time.

The new cameras felt great, but to tell you the truth, since getting my A7R last year I have very little interest in spending any more to ‘upgrade’ a camera that works well for my needs.

I’m finally at a point, thank God, where I really am not interested in the latest and greatest!

Note: Still editing pics, I have some from the Sony booth that I may post. Maybe, maybe not πŸ™‚

FUJIFILM

Fuji had a hot booth showcasing their latest cameras and lenses. I was impressed with the prints from the X-T1. If my old X-Pro 1 had focused anywhere as good as the new Fujis, I would’ve never given up on the X system.

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The ever popular Fujifilm spot.

Fuji also had a very cool “retro” area showcasing their popular line of Instax cameras. I give Fuji a lot of credit for being one of the very few manufacturers still dedicated to making instant cameras and instant film.

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Fuji posted some wonderful pics, mostly from their X-T1 cameras.




ETC, ETC

Aside from the Leica SL (Typ 601), the only other camera I really wanted to see at the show as the fabled Ricoh/Pentax full-frame. Apparently, they had a near complete mock-up that was shown early on in the show, but it was no longer there when I went on Saturday.

My thoughts on this? Ricoh/Pentax…guys, enough of this hide and seek! If it’s that hard and if it’s going to take you that long to bring out a full-frame DSLR, don’t worry about it! It may be a showcase product, but it’s not like you’ll be selling a boatload of these vs Canon, Nikon, or Sony.

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“Imagine. Change.” Ricoh/Pentax’s lineup. Always a very capable system and a great alternative to the Big Boys.

I’m a huge Ricoh/Pentax fan, but they’ve taken way too long with this thing. I’m all for “getting it right” and maybe that’s what they’re doing, but the longer they take, the more likely the tech inside the camera will be outdated.

They did have the awesome 645Z there and the images I’ve seen from this camera at its best eclipses almost anything else out there. At $6995, you can get this 51mp digital Medium Format camera forΒ lessΒ than the new Leica SL! Wow!! πŸ™‚

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“You Know You Want It.” Ricoh/Pentax rep and customer debating on the hot Pentax 645Z camera system πŸ™‚

Zeiss was on hand with all their HOT lenses! However, I don’t see myself being able to afford one of these any time soon πŸ™‚

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Hot lenses!! Who doesn’t love Zeiss? I don’t even know one photographer who doesn’t πŸ™‚

FINAL THOUGHTS ON THE EXPO

The PhotoPlus Expo is always a lot of fun, especially if you’ve never been there. But every year, the cameras and lenses have gotten better to the point where I feel it’s no longer all that exciting…for me, anyway.

I go there to check out the latest gear, yes, but I also go to hook up with good friends who I haven’t seen in a while. Sadly this year I wasn’t able to go on the day when the “Dream Team” was attending and they know who I’m talking about! Sorry about that, and hope to hook up in the near future πŸ™‚

Let me say this; if you have a modern Canon, Nikon, Sony, Pentax, etc, you probably have a camera that’s “good enough” for your needs. We are very lucky to live in an age where cameras can do what they can do, I love it! That said, the better these cameras get, the more film I shoot πŸ™‚

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“Film Buddies.” With my analog brother, Mr. Louis Mendes, NYC street photography icon. The Master Blaster has always been good to me and I consider him a friend and an inspiration.

I apologize to anyone who found this report lacking. I know there are a lot of Canon, Nikon, and Sony fans who probably wanted a little more.

I’m not a reporter. I’m a fan. I went to the show as a fan of these manufacturers and their products, and I am relaying what I saw, what I experienced.

Best,
Sam




Autumn Surprise 2015

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“Autumn Surprise” 2015. Sony A7R, CV 35mm f/1.2 Nokton Aspherical. I used to love using 90-105mm lenses for shots like this. Now I like using wide and getting in close. For a larger and better view, please click on the photo.

Every year since 2008, I’ve been photographing my elder daughter in a personal series of fall portraits that I like to call “Autumn Surprise.”

I’ve used the photos to document her growth with the yearly change of seasons. It’s quite heart-warming to see how quickly she has grown. Time flies too fast for me πŸ™‚

Today, that seven year record was broken with the introduction of her baby sister into this series.

Just as fun for me is to see the gear I was using then and what I am using now. I plan to post the whole series in another post.

If you live in an area of the world that has fall foliage and you have children, this is a good weekend to pull out your Camera Legend cameras and catch those kids in the Autumn Leaves!




 

The New Leica SL (Typ 601) System

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The newly announced Leica SL (Typ 601). A 24mp, full-frame, mirrorless monster from Leica!

There’s a new Big Daddy in town! Leica has announced its 24mp, mirrorless, full-frame camera system and from the pics I have seen, it’s a MONSTER!! It’s called the SL (Typ 601). Leave it to Leica to give it one of these funky “Typ” names, sounds so serious πŸ™‚

It looks like a Sony A7 series on steroids. Seriously, it looks like a beautiful monstrosity, just in time for Halloween πŸ™‚

I’m hoping to see this thing in the flesh this weekend at the Photo Plus show in NYC. I will report back if I do see it in the flesh so stay tuned.

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The original 35mm Leica SL. Perhaps the best film SLR made by Leica. Image from 2008, CPG Productions.

The Leicaflex SL was introduced in 1968. While Leica 35mm SLR’s didn’t exactly set the world on fire the way their M series did, I do consider the SL one of the finest 35mm cameras of its time. Dials, knobs, a glorious viewfinder and pure manual focus goodness and unlike many of the R series cameras, the SL was actually designed and made by Leica.

I can’t foretell whether the new digital SL (Typ 601) will have the timeless appeal of the original SL, but I have no doubt it’s going to be an imaging giant!

Meanwhile, if you’ve got serious cash to spend, you can pre-order the Leica SL HERE and the matching Leica Vario-Elmarit-SL 24-90mm f/2.8-4 ASPHΒ HERE. It’s slated to be released for sale November 20, 2015.

Despite its price tag, I’m sure this camera will SELL OUT almost right away, so if you got the cash, I don’t have to tell you…Don’t hesitate because that SL won’t wait! πŸ™‚

This is going to be an awesome combo, no doubt, but it’s going to be WAY beyond my reach and wallet. I like cheap and this ain’t cheap…but I like it!

But I’ll tell you one thing…If you get this, YOU my friend will definitely be a CAMERA LEGEND!! πŸ™‚

Here are the official specs and a pdf brochure on the SL (Typ 601) from Leica.

Technical Data – Leica SL (Typ 601) & SL 24-90

Memo 2016-33 Leica SL (Typ 601)

It’s Fall Foliage Time!

It’s that time of the year again. Especially for those of us in the Northeastern part of the country, the autumn leaves are at or approaching their peak. In some parts, they may even be past their peak.

While I haven’t gotten my foliage pics yet this year, I hope to soon. Maybe this weekend or next.

Anyway, I thought this would be a good time to post some fall foliage from years past. Many with gear I no longer have, but how I miss them!

This is a great time to photograph and use some of those Camera Legends in your closet. Don’t miss it!

Update 10/17/15: I did get some shots today, but only have one to post so far. It is the top photo using the EOS-M I reviewed HERE.

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

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“Change” 2007. Canon EOS 5D, 70-200mm f/2.8L IS.

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“Fall Fashion” 2014. Nokia Lumia 1020.




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

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“Fall Back” 2007. Rolleiflex 2.8F, 80mm f/2.8 Planar, Kodak Portra 400 UC.

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“Crown Of Thorns” 2012. Sony NEX-C3, 25mm f/1.4 CCTV lens.

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“It’s Raining Leaves” 2008. Contax 645, 80mm f/2.8 Planar, Kodak Portra 400 film.

The First Sony Cybershot Camera…Plus A Look At The Sony RX1R II

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“Cyber Cam” The Sony DSC-F1 from 1996 is an 0.3mp digital stills camera and is considered to be Sony’s first digital Cybershot camera.

Sony has just announced their latest Cybershot camera, the Sony RX1R II.

It’s a premium quality fixed lens camera with 42.4 megapixels and a superb 35mm f/2 Zeiss Sonnar T* lens. Wow. To appreciate how far we’ve come in camera technology, let’s take a quick look at the very first Sony Cybershot camera.

THE VERY FIRST SONY CYBERSHOT CAMERA

Now here’s a camera not many of you today remember, heard about or even knew existed. Web searches are scarce, this is a forgotten camera and probably justifiably so. But it was a first for Sony.

The very first Sony Cybershot camera is the Sony DSC-F1 from 1996. This camera featured a 0.3 (!) mp sensor, a fixed 35mm equivalent f/2 lens, and a 1/3″ sensor that produced VGA quality 640×480 pixels. The camera has a unique swiveling lens. This could’ve been one of the first “selfie” cameras πŸ™‚

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From 1996, the DSC-F1, Sony’s first Cybershot camera.

It does not say “Cybershot” anywhere on this camera, but it has the distinction of being the first “DSC” stills camera from Sony which is why it is considered a Cybershot. Before entering the still camera market, Sony had been known for producing quality video camera for years. It is interesting to note that at the time of its introduction, Sony was so new to this that the lens on the DSC-F1 says “Sony Video Lens.”

I got this camera for ten bucks. I have no samples to show you because it requires a hard to find, old school serial PCI type cable to download the images. The camera also has an IRDA port to transfer images wirelessly. Ahead of its time!

If you wonder what that 0.3mp quality would be like, just imagine an old school web-cam. It’s dreadful. That’s what this camera basically is.

You don’t see them for sale often, but they are not worth much if anything. And I don’t know if it ever will be. But being the first Sony Cybershot camera, the DSC-F1 is indeed a Camera Legend. I love the design and the way it looks, that’s the only reason I got it.

Now let’s go into details about Sony’s latest Cybershot camera…

THE LATEST CYBERSHOT: The Sony RX1R II

Sony has just announced the Sony RX1R II. Major specs from reading the Sony press release are: 42.4 Megapixel full-frame sensor, apparently the same BSI-CMOS sensor as the A7RII, 35mm f/2 Zeiss Sonnar T* lens, retractable XGA OLED viewfinder, faster AF (same system as A7RII) and the world’s first optical variable low-pass filter. You can actually choose whether or not you want the AA filter in front of the sensor and if so, the levels, i.e., off, standard or high. There is of course a lot more to this camera, but you can find all you need to know by checking Sony’s site or searching the internet.

The original Sony RX1 was a high-end point and shoot camera introduced by Sony in 2012. It is a fixed lens camera with a 35mm f/2 Zeiss Sonnar lens and a 24.3 megapixel full-frame sensor.

I must admit, the Sony RX1 was one of those cameras I coveted, but could never get myself to buy. I loved the way it looked, I loved the way it felt, and I loved the files I saw from the camera. However, I couldn’t plunk down $3000 for a fixed lens digital. I didn’t have the cash and even if I did, I just couldn’t do it.

I buy and sell cameras. I’m not rich and I have a family to feed so I have a budget. For me to afford the next camera I get, I have to sell the last camera I got. And with today’s flooded market, that’s not always easy to do. All the cameras I’ve reviewed here, I bought with my own money. I don’t get cameras sent to me for review and I don’t get invited to press events.

My blog is relatively new and I thank each and every one of you who have stopped by, left a comment, or help support it. It’s just the grassroots blog of a guy who, just like you, loves cameras and wants to share what he’s found along the way. There IS a reason for those horrible low-budget selfies πŸ™‚

As mentioned elsewhere on my blog, I would pay for quality but I like cheap. For me to get an RX1, I would have had to sell off a lot of stuff for a digital camera that would depreciate over time. I would rather get a Konica Hexar or Ricoh GR1 and deal with the hassles of developing film, but that’s just me.

That said, I would have to say the files I saw and downloaded from the RX1 were among the most impressive I have seen from a digital camera or any camera for that matter. The camera felt great and the files had a look, depth, and ‘pop’ that you only see when you have a near perfect camera/lens/sensor combo. The RX1 had it. I’m sure the RX1R II will take this to the next level.

Below are images of the RX1R II distributed by Sony, so you may have seen the images on other blogs as well. While the RX1R II is not available in stores yet, I’m sure it’s going to be a HOT seller. People love this stuff man, we all do! πŸ™‚

Anyway, if you want to sign up for notification when the camera is in stock, you can do so HERE.

But if you’re like me, you’d probably go for a used RX1 or RX1R first version which is a deal at $1200-1500 used. For that I would check Amazon and their vast network of dealers. Even if what you find is showing $2700 etc, etc, etc, when you click on it and scroll down, you will find the USED or REFURBiSHED units. That’s where the deals are.

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