Roshan Vyas: Ditching a Nikon D7000 DSLR camera for a Fuji X-E1 and Leica Summicron-M 50mm lens

This whole, 'moving from Dslr to the greener pastures of Compact System Cameras' issue has picked up a lot of steam lately, and as someone that sits firmly in between the two, I think its now worthy of its own Estiasis 'Moving from DSLT to CSC' tag. Roshan Vyas is one of the switches, and so far, seems happy with the choice:

"I mentioned earlier that I sold off my Nikon D7000 and three lenses last month. The main reason was size: Having traveled around Europe with the whole kit for a month, I didn't see myself carrying all of that weight on a trip again. And around San Francisco, I prefer my Fuji X100 for street photography. Even more, I didn't find myself being as deliberate with my photos with a DSLR compared to the more manual and sometimes slower X100. I just enjoyed the Fuji photos more, and it was nice to not end up editing hundreds of quickly shot burst photos. I also figured that if I ever actually wanted to use a DSLR for a . . . read more

Ming Thein asks:"What makes a good photographer?"

I'm afraid the answer is not 'the latest and bestest gear with the highest iso on earth':

"Frequently asked, but rarely answered is the question of what makes a good photograph; rarely, if ever, asked is ‘what makes a good photographer?‘ In the first place, does it matter? I think the answer is yes, both because of the importance of self-assessment in the grand scheme of things if you want to continually improve as a photographer, and because we can all benefit from a goal to aim for. Obviously, the answer to this question is going to depend very much on the type of photographer you want to be; being loud, brash and in-your-face might serve you well as a paparazzo, but it’s almost certainly going to result in early retirement if you’re a war photographer. . . . read more

Roger Cicala checks out the cost of a whole system-mirrorless, (Olympus) vs the Dslr establishment of Canon, Nikon, Pentax and Sony.

 All I can say is 'ouch'. And it was a double ouch for Roger, since after going through all the trouble assembling a kick-ass micro 4/3 system he found out it wasn't that portable any longer, so in the end he chose something even smaller. No, not the Pentax Q:

"In my last post I made a preliminary list of systems I was going to consider. Some people are a little surprised I’m considering crop sensor cameras. I’m surprised that they’re surprised. I’ve shot with a micro 4/3 system for months and it certainly met 80% of my needs, so an APS-C based camera may be just fine. Or I may decide that I need to have a full-frame camera. I’ve generally shot full frame for the last several years. . . . read more

Diglloyd remains starkly negative of Fujifilm's X-pro1 and X-E1 camera sensors, despite the improvements Capture 1 Pro brought in the raw processing front: "Like curing a patient of hemorrhoids by giving him Chrone’s disease."

Wow, his must be the most serious case of X-Trans sensorophobia on the whole wide Interwebs. I still have a lot of respect for much of what he otherwise does, but when it comes to the X-Trans artifacting issue he clearly fails to see the sum of the image (heh): As a total, Fuji's sensor produces some gorgeous images, a fact that is stated in confessions and declarations by numerous pro, avid and generally accomplished photographers. I can point you to a zillion galleries and essays, but I choose just one for now and rest my case: Check out Dave Piper's gallery of images he got with the X-Pro1. 

"Why bother with a problematic sensor? Or a company that can’t get its act together and just pay Adobe $250K a year or whatever to deliver exceptional results from ACR (if this is even possible, which I begin to doubt). This dog doesn’t hunt. Get a Sigma DP1/DP2/DP3 Merrill and enjoy real resolution with zero artifacts, totally clean, not even Bayer sensor demosaicing yuck. Or get a D600 or D800E system which isn’t that hugely different in size, but has a full frame sensor. I see no point in investing in a 2nd-tier system with a sensor that forces photographers to jump through hoops." . . . read more

Dan Valicek: Is the Fujifilm X-Pro1 the Leica for the poor man?

I'd say its the camera for the Smart man and woman, the poor Leica snobs suckers usually go with a dented semi-functional Leica M4 they snatched off Ebay or Craiglist for a few hundred bucks. 

"Initially my choice fell with a Leica M9. I’ve dreamt of this camera for years, but the price always made me quickly stop and think. I wanted to give the Leica a chance, so I borrowed an M9. I was excited by the Leica, in fact a lot for me. So of course there was a 9,000 Euro start up cost, with only a 35mm lens. After intense consultations with my conscience and lots of sorrow on my brow, I came next to the M9 and engaged with the mirrorless system cameras. There were a good . . . read more

Steve Huff claims another soul for Leica: Photographer Peter Tomlinson waves goodbye to his beloved Nikon gear and says hello to Leica, no reasons given other than Steve's contagious Leica enthusiasm.

His farewell bid does not answer a single question, more specifically, WHY? And how is he going to replace his 200mm tele range in the Leica world? Why do he post some gorgeous images taken with his Nikon gear (D700 and D300) over the years, does he honestly believe he will do better with a Leica on safaris? Anyway, I'll wish him the best of luck, and congratulations to Steve Huff for reeling in another one :)

"Dear Steve, Having found your site about 6 months ago I’ve become convinced, with a passion that grew from your own passion, that I need to say goodbye to my Nikon DSLR gear (D700 and D300 with f2.8 lenses of 20mm, 24-70 and 70-200) and say hello to Leica. After your helpful input and a search around various shops I’ve chosen an M9-P, still under warranty, and at a very good price. I collect it on January 7th. . . . read more

New Leica M (typ 240) first pictures surface, from a wedding in Kyrgystan. By Magnum photographer Jean Gaumy, at the Leica Blog.

My first impression: Meh. I really fail to see the fabled Leica magic, or the mythical micro-contrast and the whatnot characteristics of the whole system. Nice pics, bit over-saturated, bit under-exposed, nothing out of the ordinary, and certainly nothing you can't achieve with a nice mirrorless, or even a fixed lens camera like the Sony RX1. Heck, I'm sure I can lower the comparison bar even more and add a camera like the RX100, but i won't do it, or maybe i just did?

I'm sure Gurus like Steve Huff, Michael Reichmann and Diglloyd will have a totally different opinion. Surely, their trained eyes and minds will pick up and decode detail I cannot even fathom. Surprisingly, the Kyrgystanis, that live on a average monthly salary of 220 Euros, do not seem to be very impressed by the overpriced classic German picture (now with Video!) machine. Yes, the link to the Leica blog includes a video, taken with the Typ 240. Ever seen a Leica M video before? . . . read more

Ming Thein thinks that cropping is bad, tries to explain why, states the obvious and goes back to square one.

Little nobody me admires and respects Ming Thein a lot, but this kind of monolithic statements (why cropping is bad) bothers me. It is the same as in the gun, or the knife clichées: They are just tools that can be used for good and bad. Same thing goes for cropping: bad cropping is bad, good cropping is good. I prefer to read an article by Ming Thein on how to avoid the former and achieve the latter.

"For the longest time, I’ve been saying (perpetuating the popular adage?) that cropping is bad. I’ve touched on the reason in previous articles – notably these two on compositional building blocks, and proper perspective practice – But I don’t think I’ve really explained why. There are several reasons; I’ll go through these in some detail over the . . . read more

5 new companies enter the Micro Four Thirds Group, we're checking them out.

5 new companies to join micro 4/3 group, yey!

A weird bunch this is: We've got the Australian maker of a manual Video Camera with severe supply issues, a joker, a German who makes machine vision systems, a Japanese company that specializes in (very, VERY) high speed professional video cameras, and someone-also from Japan-who markets Fleas, Grasshoppers, Fireflies and Ladybugs.  . . . read more

JK Imaging to market a Kodak branded Micro 4/3 camera lineup, first model will be named the Kodak S1 WiFi equipped camera with a Sony sensor, to be made available in Q3, 2013.

Story first uncovered by ePrice in Taiwan, and initially picked up by 43 Rumors and Mirrorless Rumors, but we'll change/add to their wording a bit. First, neither Kodak, NOR JK Imaging are capable of manufacturing anything, this will be a crappy (or semi-decent, depending on your Point of View) OEM story, similar to the 'Polaroid' interchangeable lens cameras.

Second, JK Imaging (boasting of maintaining sales offices in Hong Kong, Tokyo, Manila, China, Dubai, and Jordan, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, Peru and Venezuela) is a company that literally came out of nowhere, represented by a single guy, and probably being just a front for JAACX distributors, a retailer with a presence mainly in Latin America. . . . read more

Most promising and puzzling cameras of 2012 by at Camera Ergonomics: A very good read about The (slow) demise of the DSLR and rise of the mirrorless.

"DSLR:  My view is that the DSLR, and it's variant the Sony SLT(R) will gradually decline in favour of the MILC.  The reasons ?

First the DSLR has reached the end (apart from the side trip to Sony SLT) of it's evolutionary voyage. The DSLR cannot evolve into anything else. It is stuck with inherent separation of optical view from live view. It is stuck with the flipping mirror and it's attendant complications. The Sony SLT does have continuous live view in the EVF and Monitor and the mirror does not flip. But there is always a mirror sitting between the lens and the imaging sensor, collecting dust,  and the flangeback distance is the same as a DSLR. . . . read more

Bill Howard at Extreme Tech asks: Are Canon and Nikon killing off their best crop-sensor DSLRs?

No, they don't, Bill, they're just feeling the pinch from the lower-priced higher specced mirrorless cameras, and have adjusted their strategy stupidly accordingly. Just check out some comparisons between the Canon 7D and the crème de la crème of CSCs: The Olympus E-M5, the Fujifilm X-E1, the Sony NEX-6 all beat Canon's most expensive crop framer on all crucial benchmarks, be it still, or video file quality. Anyway, it  is a good and well in-depth article:

"Here’s what Canon did in the last year to make 7D owners feel like orphans on shore watching the the party boat leave . . . read more

NY TImes bits blog: Flickr Has the Opportunity to Become the Next Flickr, and finally it moves to the right direction.

Instagram is trying to be a Twitter, and Twitter is trying to be like Instagram.

"On Wednesday the company announced a major update to the Flickr mobile application. People can take pictures, apply filters and share on any number of social networks. The new app can be summed up with one word: beautiful.But the app goes beyond just a few filters and a spruced-up design. The updated mobile experience now feels like a social network that focuses on photography, not a photography Web site that happens to have a social network. . . . read more

Gizmodo chooses the 10 most important cameras of the year, proves that apparently they slept through a great part of it.

Yes, we know. Choosing the top 10 in a hallmark year like the 2012 was, is not an easy task. But for heaven's sake, when some of the cameras (like the Sony RX1 and RX100) have been hailed by most reviewers and people in the know as truly outstanding, you ought to include at least one of them. And speaking of Sony, what's the deal with preferring the NEX-5R over the NEX-6? And why, oh why include a half-baked experiment like the Lytro light field crapmera?

It is a known fact that Gizmodo was hit with an outage lasting some 7-8 days following hurricane Sandy, but no cameras were released during those days. And Sandy can't explain why they chose to include digicams like the Canon S110, a minor update to previous year's not-so-hot S100. Other notable omissions: The Fujifilm E-X1 (and affordable and modern AF version of the X-Pro1), and Panasonic GH3. Anyway, criticism is easy, so let's keep it at that, and . . . read more

Nikon: Your breath can destroy our $$$ nano crystal lens coating, seriously. (Update: Nikon USA just removed the...offending sentence from the page)

Ok, this is not really new, but it IS freaking hilarious. For the record, if our breath was that acidic, out teeth would have decayed long before the nano crystal coating:

"How do I clean the camera lens?

The best way to clean a lens is to use a piece of lint free lens cleaning tissue and a small amount of Lens Cleaning solution. Do not use anything containing abrasives or  solvents, only use Lens Cleaning Solution. First we recommend taking a small blower brush to blow off or brush away loose dust or debris. . . . read more

Are there underexposure issues with the Nikon D600? Sohail Mamdani from BorrowLenses digs into the question, that original started as a Canon 6D issue.

"Earlier in the day, as I was picking up gear, one of my BorrowLenses colleagues remarked in passing that he thought the 6D might underexpose things a bit. I didn’t pay much attention to this; depending on the metering mode set and the part of the composition that the camera’s metering sensor is looking at, exposure in one of the automatic modes can vary wildly. I didn’t even bother making a mental note to check on it.

As part of the 6D test, I decided to take a Nikon D600 along with me as well to do a side-by-side comparison of images. . . . read more

Slightly off topic: China Daily claims that Japan 'falls behind' in technology innovation, cites Panasonic and Sony as examples of crumbling giants.

The crumbling Japanese giants.Sony.Panasonic.Olympus

"In the last few months, many Japanese companies announced their layoff plans. Three IT giants - Sony, Panasonic and Sharp - are expected to make a total of 50,000 employees redundant in the near future.

Panasonic, which was founded in 1918 and remains Japan's biggest employer with 330,000 employees, said it will reduce its workforce by about 10,000 employees by March 2013. In the last five years it has posted four consecutive annual net losses. Recently, the company explained that because of losses in its mobile, solar panel and lithium battery . . . read more

The Phoblographer recommends Lenses for Micro Four Thirds, but don't read if you're a fan of m43 zoom lenses though, because they're deemed 'mediocre at best'.

M32 all manufacturers lenses lineup. Credit: Efixmedia.de

Also recommended is the Tokina reflex 300mm POS IQ challenged lens (due to mirror/reflex technology limitations), that the writer obviously thinks is better than the Panasonic 100-300mm? Yeah, right.

"For those of us who like to take pictures of small things with great magnification, or close-ups of stuff like flower blossoms, a macro lens is a must. Panasonic has the Leica-branded 45mm f2.8 to offer, while Olympus recently introduced the 60mm f2.8 (which is much smaller in reality than it seems). Both allow for 1:1 magnification, and both . . . read more

Fake Chuck Westfall: The 5D Mark III proves itself; The D800 sucks b*lls.

Canon 5D mark III vs Nikon D800 for wedding photography

Confrontative title, but this is fake C.W after all. This post somehow slipped under the radar, but is IS an interesting read nonetheless that raises some valid Q&A. Quoting mostly a statement by photographer Phil Banno:

"I have a 5D mark 3 and my business partner has a D800. It started as a personal preference but the L series canon lenses blast the nikons out the water, so much so my business partner is selling his virtually new D800 to buy a 5D mark 3 (& he’s a Nikon fan). A lot of you rant about high ISO usage but in a church where you aren’t allowed to use flash, the 5D on 5000 ISO with a 70-200mm f2.8 ISM L series 2  has no equal in the D800 arsenal. . . . read more

Former Olympus CEO: Nothing has changed at Japan Inc. since the scandal was exposed, at times i was fearing for my life.

Heroes of Olympus logo (Story: the Olympus scandal and its implications)

How severe is it for our favourite Japanese brands? Well, these two last paragraphs of his Cnn interview illustrates the situation in really bleak colours: 

"Woodford compared the success of South Korean electronics giant Samsung to that of ailing Japanese rivals such as Sharp, Sony and Panasonic -- all have their debts set at junk status.

"Japan is losing it," said Woodford. "The companies and country can't change. They just can't change themselves. It's desperately sad." . . . read more

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