Photo of the Month – August

MermaidNikon D200
Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8
31mm, 1/45 Sec at f/3.5, ISO320
Post Processed in Adobe Lightroom V5.6
On a MacBook Pro, OS-X 10.9.4

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iOS 8

iPhone 6Today saw the release of iOS8.  Less of a visual change then iOS7, more polish and tweaks, but lots of under the hood changes and more api’s for developers to better integrate with the system.

I think many are disappointed that its not a radical change but that is rarely Apple’s way.  A bombshell onto the market with the initial product then polishing it enough to keep it ahead of the competition.

With the tighter integration with the new Mac OS coming we hope next month plus iCloud improvements and the Apple Watch next year, then for Apple users it makes it a powerful combination of products.  If your not fully into the Mac ecosphere then the updates will make much less of an impression to you.

Apple Watch

I updated my iPhone5 and it seems a little quicker, I updated the iPad 2 and switching between apps is much more sluggish, i’ll update Caroline’s iPhone4 latter in the week.  I have made sure I have an image of iOS7 for the iPad2 and the iPhone4 so if I need to roll back I can, always a good move for such old hardware.

I possibly made the mistake of upgrading my iCloud documents to iCloud Drive, for now may Cloud documents are only available via a web browser and my iPhone5, I cannot seem to get them on the iPad, and the Mac will not get that function until next month.  I may just have to download them all and work on them locally for now.

 

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Leica Announce new Camera’s

Today we had the Leica announcements and it was a pretty impressive list.

A new medium format S camera, new film M, a limited addition digital M that was incredibly brave, a digital camera with no LCD.  You don’t know what you have until you download the images to your computer.

A new Leica X camera to replace the X2 and two rebadged Panasonic’s ;)

The new D-Lux is based on the Panasonic I blogged about yesterday and it looks to be a stunning compact camera.  Normally it is a difficult choice to decide if the Leica is worth the extra.  The glass tends to be different and the firmware but apart from that they are the same camera with slightly different body shells.

Normally if you are in the USA, the Leica model makes more sense as it comes with two year warrantee and a copy of Adobe Lightroom.  Here in Europe we get two year warrantees by EU law so it makes the Leica model harder to justify, but I was shocked to see the UK prices.  The Leica is £825 while the Panasonic is £799 and Leica have increased the warrantee to three years.

There was some tricks as well that we have seen before, the old S and been re-released as S-E, the old X2 as the X-E, there were also a lot of new lens released for both the M and the T.

Altogether a very powerful set of updates.  At the next Photokina I expect the big thing to be a new M, but until then this will keep a lot Leica users very happy.

Leica M-A rangefinder camera (body only, black)
Leica M-A rangefinder camera (body only, silver)
Leica S medium format camera (typ 007)
Leica S-E medium format camera (typ 006)
Leica D-Lux (typ 109) digital camera
Leica handgrip for Leica D-Lux (typ 109)
Leica Noctilux-M 50mm f/0.95 ASPH lens (silver)
Leica Summilux-M 35mm f/1.4 ASPH lens (silver)
Leica Summarit-M 35mm f/2.4 ASPH lens (black)
Leica Summarit-M 35mm f/2.4 ASPH lens (silver)
Leica Summarit-M 50mm f/2.4 lens (black)
Leica Summarit-M 50mm f/2.4 lens (silver)
Leica Summarit-M 75mm f/2.4 lens (black)
Leica Summarit-M 75mm f/2.4 lens (silver)
Leica Summarit-M 90mm f/2.4 lens (black)
Leica Summarit-M 90mm f/2.4 lens (silver)
Leica Super-Vario-Elmar-T 11-23mm f/3.5-4.5 ASPH lens
Leica APO-Vario-Elmar-T 55-135mm f/3.5-4.5 ASPH lens
Leica V-LUX (typ 114) digital camera
Leica X Digital Compact Camera With Summilux 23mm f/1.7 ASPH Lens (Black)
Leica X digital compact camera with Summilux 23mm f/1.7 ASPH lens (silver)
Read more on LeicaRumors.com: http://leicarumors.com

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Camera Announcements coming thick and fast

Panasonic LC1The Photokina announcements are now coming think and fast, the Canon 7D Mark II looks interesting for Canon users, certainly there is nothing like that for Nikon users.  Come on Nikon where is the D300s replacement?

The most interesting announcements was the new Panasonic LX100, this is a direct descendent from the joint Panasonic venture that brought us the Panasonic LC1 (see above and the Leica badged Digilux 2 (see below).

Leica Digilux 2

Leica are planning there press conference tomorrow morning but I bet there is a Leica version of this LX100.

Instead of a small compact sensor its got a MicroFourThirds sensor, slightly cropped depending which picture ratio you choose.

There are a surprising number of pros that still have the Panasonic or Leica version of this older version of this camera at the bottom of their bags, its still well liked and how many good handling compacts with a viewfinder have there been until recently?

Panasonic lx100

It reminds me of a fixed lens GX-7, I look forward to trying it out, I think this, the Fuji X100T, Panasonic GX-7 and the Leica T have just gone to the top of my compact camera wish list.

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Photokina – Fuji X100T and Nikon D750

Well Photokina starts next week, and as has become a tradition most manufactures have announced their new products.

So far the things that have attracted my interest is the new Fuji X100T, looks good but still not sure about the X-Trans sensor and the Nikon D750.

For my SLR needs I do not upgrade often, generally every ten years in the film days, today in this digital age I am still using 2007 10 MP DSLR’s they do a great job at base ISO but I feel I need something better for church weddings as the light is often poor.

Communion

Communion

I have hopes that the D750 will be the replacement body I need.  In an ideal world I would just buy a D4 or D800/D810 but that would stretch my budget a little too far.

One issue that I may have is that the D750 looks like a consumer chassis and I am not sure if it will take the long lens I need to use for wildlife, the D600 had issues with the body warping when using heavy lens.

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Apple’s Announcements

iPhone 6

This week we had the Apple announcements of their new phones and the Apple Watch.

Many may say these are me too devices, the phone is a copy of the large Android phones and the watch is just a copy of other smart watches released.

The difference with Apple is as always they have thought about the user experience and with the integration with the Apple Ecosphere.

The original Mac introduced the mouse to the world, the iPod was not the cheapest mp3 player but putting the user experience first made it the worlds number one.  Since then we have had the iPhone.  I have had smart phones since the very early days.  All of them were more powerful in what they could do then the original iPhone.

But why did people buy the iPhone, well a simple example is that you could hand any of my previous smart phones to a none smart phone user and they could not have made a simple phone call.  The email was basic and the web browser was a joke.  The iPhone was a good phone, had real rich html email and a real html web browser.  No other smart phone had that.

One of my old smart phones had cut and paste and a todo list.  The iPhone went through several versions before cut and paste appeared and a todo list.  People made fun of the iPhone because of this, but how many used cut and paste.  On several of my other smart phones cut and paste was there from the beginning but it did not work.  You could only cut and paste from within the same application even the system application did not support cut and paste within the different sections.

When Apple give you a feature is normally works very well.  Yes Apple are restrictive, you either do it the Apple way or use another product but very often the Apple way is the most effective way.

Finally after many years Apple finally announced a personal wearable computer device.

Apple Watch

The Apple watch once finally available next year is likely to be the most expensive of all the smart watches available.  The new Moto 360 was the smartest and best smart watch of the bunch, if you did not use it too much it will last a day but use it as you would want to then you will find yourself charging it at least twice a day.  The few things the Apple watch does it will likely do very well.

A few of the features mentioned that people testing it had used: some had used it as a remote to his Apple TV, another used it instead of getting his phone out to see who was texting him and quickly replying, anther as a viewfinder and remote to his camera.  You make of it what you will.  I am interested just because I am thinking of getting an iPhone6 Plus, its a little to big for bringing out all the time, using the watch as a remote for the larger phone makes sense to me.  Also I am interested in fitness,  I have a very nice and good looking analogue watch for best and a fitness watch, it also has an additional chest strap you have to wear to measure you heart beat.  The data has to be manually transferred from the watch to a spreadsheet and into an App on my iPhone, the Apple watch will do that that quite well.

Am I an Apple Fan Boy?  Well yes I suppose I am, as well as being a Leica Fan Boy, I also use Windows, Solaris, Ubuntu and Redhat and love them.  If the tool does the job well then yet I am a Fan Boy for that tool.

Oh and do I think some parts of Android and Windows Mobile are cool; Yes I do so you can accuse me of being a fan boy for them too.

Use the best tool for the job, if like me you need Unix, are a Photographer and need powerful portable devices then I am afraid to say Apple devices are the best; for me, you may have a different option and that is fine.

 

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Leica Ranger Finder with no rear LCD?

Epson Range Finder Rear Screen

Over the last few months there has been the occasional rumour about a new digital Leica rangefinder but with no rear screen.

With Photokina starting on the 16th September the rumour has come back and briefly a new Leica Rangefinder appeared on Leica’s website.

Screen Shot 2014-09-08 at 21.05.03

The M-A was a special addition film camera and is likely to be released now as a replacement for the film MP not to be confused with the new digital M-P.  On that list is the a new Leica M Edition 60, this according the latest rumours will be a digital M with no rear LCD screen.

Its an odd concept but worlds first digital rangefinder the Epson RD1 had some great concepts.  It looked all analogue, with dials and the rear LCD screen was reversible so with it folded away it looked like an old film camera, I hope the new Leica is in this style.

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Password Management and security Questions

On Sunday I updated a number of my old passwords, I try to change my passwords at least every year and important ones every month.

Cloud security is on the news a bit this last week as a number of celebrities have had their accounts ‘hacked’.  The problem is that people choose simple to remember passwords and the other big issue is with the security questions.

You get questions like ‘what was my first school?’.  The questions are generally personal but the answers are likely to on your Facebook page and that is the issue.

Some sites now offer two factor authentication, iCloud has offered this for a while but not many use it.  If you want to set it up check out Apple’s support site here.

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More Nikon Rumours and new Leica/Panasonic Compact

Nikon-D750-DSLR-camera-mockup-550x343Well it looks like the Nikon D750 is real and will be announced 11th or 12th September.  I am really hoping its a little D4, with the D4 sensor and focusing system, plus a proper metal chassis not like the D600/D610 which can warp its lens mount if you try and use big heavy pro long glass.

This would be a great camera for me if I don’t succumb to a second hand D3s.

Another rumour that was of interest to me was the Panasonic LX8 which will also be released with minor tweaks as the Leica D-Lux Type 109.  Some rumour sites are saying that it will have a larger then standard sensor.  Some say MicroFourThirds which I doubt others say the 1 inch sensor like my Nikon V1 which would be fantastic in a small body.  The rumours also state it will have a built in EVF so it could be a rival to the Sony RX100III.  If so it would be an ideal solution for a carry everywhere camera.

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“The Decisive Moment“: Henri Cartier-Bresson

Nikon V1 10mm f/2.8

Nikon V1 10mm f/2.8

Back in my early days as a photographer I bought books on technique and equipment, now I tend to purchase books of photographs by the great photographers of the past and present.

It was while catching up on my blog reading this evening I spotted a post about inspirational books, and the “The Decisive Moment“ by Henri Cartier-Bresson was mentioned.

Its now back in print and as an occasional street photographer i’ll be adding it to my Christmas list.

 

 

 

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Camera’s as Inspiration

My Leicas

For some reason people get very animated about cameras.  Their camera manufacture is the best, and people get very vocal on the forums saying theres is best and others are rubbish.

The thing is do you like your camera and how big do you print.  Very few people print over A4 thus 6 MP is enough, so for example arguing that the latest 16 MP Fuji’s are crap because they don’t have the latest 36 MP sensors is ridiculous.  Why did Sony go back to 12 MP for A7s?

OK rant over, now for the point of the article, last Saturday I kicked off my end of month backups of all my photographs taken so far in 2014 and spotted the image above, it was a test shot for a still life I was about to start, I was just working out the tripod positioning and used the camera bag and my two Leicas as test subjects.

Now I will admit to being a bit of a Leica fan boy.  They are very basic, offer little automation and for the price of a new M body and 50mm f/2 lens you could kit yourself out with one large and very fine camera system.

The advantage of the Leica is the glass, its very hard to beat, the upside also for some people and also the downside for others is the bodies.  A rangefinder body is expensive to manufacture and difficult to use, you either love them or hate them and those that hate them will never understand those of us who love them.

Water Nymph

Leica M8

The point is, that today in 2014 its difficult to name a bad camera, and when we are comparing them its like splitting hairs, so in that case pick the camera that you like and ignore everyone else.

Nikon D200

Nikon D200

Last weekends underwater shoot, I used Nikon D200′s and a Leica M8, did one perform better then the other, no; they both produced stunning images as you can see above.  I suspect that if I had used a Leica T or a Sony RX100, or Fuji X100, or  just picked any Nikon or Canon SLR I would have done just as well, but some of them I would have enjoyed using more then others, and ultimately  its down to you, and for you to decide, but try to pick a camera that inspires you to shoot, not one you hate using and leave at home.

 

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