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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County and Village Shows

There is often something going on in Lincolnshire, whether its the Lincolnshire Sausage Festival, the Steam Punk Festival, or any of the Village or County Shows, its always worth a visit with your camera and for the food!

These last few weeks its been quite hectic with events in Lincoln such as Morris Dancers, the largest Steam Punk Festival in Europe and two local village shows.

There is always lots of colour and interest.sheep

 

At the Collingham show last weekend I gave myself the challenge of shooting just with the Leica M8 and with the Leica Elmar 24mm f/3.8 lens.  This is not sexy lens but gives excellent results, but is a little wide for general use.

Trials

I also shot a little action, I chose the longest lens I own for the Leica M, a 50mm Summilux.  Shooting moving subjects without a fast SLR some would say is impossible but with careful thought, planning and preparation one can get a good image with any camera.

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My View on Photokina – from a Leica point of view

Every two years Photokina hold their photography show, many years ago it was huge, with companies like Kodak, Fuji and Agfa booking entire halls.  Nikon and Canon with revolutionary new SLR’s, the Large format and Medium format manufacturers who had a virtual monopoly over the fashion and studio photography world.  My dream was to one day own a Hasselblad V system camera (and now I do)!

Today the show is a shadow of its former self, Kodak only has a very small presence and only Leica booked a whole hall to themselves.

So what did people think and what did I think, well you can check out a few other thoughts below:  Chris’s blog first and of course Luminous Landscape.

Back in 2010 was the last time I was really excited by a Photokina, and that was the prototype Fuji X100, unlike Kodak, Fuji have really risen to the challenges of the digital age, and importantly they have continued to listen to their customers and continued to develop and improve old models whilst releasing new models.

The Fuji X100 range and the Fuji X Pro both with there hybrid optical viewfinders I find the most exciting small camera’s available at the moment.  Both have improved over the years and with this years Photokina we now see the Fuji X100T, for users wanting a Leica type rangefinder, whilst these camera’s are not rangefinders they bring that kind of experience to the photographer at a relatively cheap price point.

A lot of people ask what is the point of the rangefinder and why do many like it so much; well its less the ranger finder part but more the optical viewfinder and its positioning on the camera.  The viewfinder being in the top corner means the camera obscures less of ones face meaning that people relate to you differently and you often get a better and more relaxed pose from your subject.  The other factor is the viewfinder of most SLR’s is about 97% unless its a pro model which gives 100%.  A rangefinder gives you anywhere between 110% and 180% coverage compared to your lens, thus you see things about to enter your picture and can frame and anticipate better.  Now the only other cameras that I am aware of that can also do this are the Fuji X100 range and the X Pro1, thus the interest.

I am tempted but the X-trans sensor with its potential issues to large areas of green that can sometimes show up puts me off.  I would love them to come out with a X100 without the X-trans sensor, the original X100 had the standard sensor but missed focus too much.

Now lets talk about Leica; they had a huge show, several hundred square feet were dedicated to gallery space where they showed the work of many of today’s great photographers.

The major announcements that I found interesting were the Leica M 60 a rather strange and very brave special edition, the new X camera and the two new Dlux and Vlux cameras.

Leica M 60

I am not sure if the Leica M 60 is brave or foolish.  There is something about it that makes me want one but as its a special edition of only 600 units costing £12000 that is not going to happen, its basically a M 240 with no rear screen so viewing your images is not possible until you download them to a computer, its just like working with film, you have to know what you are doing and get it right in camera.  I love it!

Another new M we had was the film M-A this is a replacement I think to the M-P but has no meter so very back to your roots.  Before you think its a camera impossible to use then just remember I use my 1960′s Leica M4 well and have rarely had a badly exposed picture and that also has no meter in it.

We have two joint development cameras from the Leica Panasonic agreement the Panasonic LX100 / Leica DLux and the Panasonic FZ1000 / Leica VLux.  Expect to see another five years of co-operation as both companies signed another agreement to share electronic and lens technology which has given us some well thought out little cameras since 2001.

Lastly we had a new S medium format camera, this time with a CMOS sensor and 4K video.  Up to now video has not been that good on Leica camera’s but the big sensor and some of the best lens in the business has got a number of videographers very excited.

 

 

 

 

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iOS 8 and iPad2 and iCloud Drive

iPad

iPad

I jumped in with both feet and upgraded both my iPhone 5 and my iPad2.  The phone worked great, actually seems slightly faster and there are some great improvements.  The iPad2 was a little sluggish but did have a major issue.  I could not get iCloud Drive to work which meant I could not update any of my cloud based spreadsheets.

Reboots, turning iCloud off then back on again; login out of iCloud, I tried it all but nothing seemed to work, so tonight I backed up the iPad and did a full system reset, setting it up as a new device, it was much quicker and iCloud drive worked.

I then reset it again and restored from the backup I had took, this time iCloud worked as it should and the sluggishness had gone.  Not done much other testing yet as I have been checking out the Photokina announcements.

I’ll try and post a few thoughts from the show on Monday but Fuji and Leica really seem to be a roll and know where there going, I get the feeling Canon and Nikon are just treading water not wanting to upset their SLR sales, unfortunately for them SLR sales are looking like the only way is down.

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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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