Friday, January 27, 2012

A splash of color

Eventually summer will be back. 7D + 500/4L.


Interesting times ahead

Looks like 2012 will be quite the year for the large sensor mirrorless cameras. While we are still waiting for Nikon and Canon to join the frenzy (and no, the Nikon 1 doesn't count, nor does the G1X as nice a camera as it appears), I see at least 4 exciting cameras on the horizon.

Anybody who pays the least bit of attention to digital cameras has by now heard of the Fui X-Pro 1. After the X100 became a hit for Fuji (who opted to go a more creative digital route than Kodak which appears to have paid off), everyone was clamoring for an interchangeable lens version of it. Well, here it is; a similarly styled camera with an even better sensor, and a set of nice prime lenses to go with it. The downside? Price. It was initially rumored to land around 1300EUR including the 35/1.4 ("normal"), and though we are still waiting for a final, final price, it appears we are now looking at some 2200EUR for this setup. While still a moderate price compared to the Leica M9 I feel they will be losing quite a few sales at this price point. Hopefully we will see it below the 1500EUR mark including lens sometime this year.

The Sony NEX-7 is not really new for 2012, but courtesy of production issues it is still not generally available. With its apparently excellent 24MP sensor and high res EVF this looks like a great platform for the great lenses that Sony somehow have forgotten to create for it. Sure, we have the 24/1.8 Zeiss which appears to be a solid piece of glass, but a single high quality prime does not a system make. With the pricing on the NEX-7 they are clearly not shooting for the point-and-shoot upgraders, and the serious enthusiasts are going to want some great glass to go with that great body. Of course there is the option to adapt all sorts of third party lenses, but without at least a 35,50,85 equivalent native fast prime setup I am staying away from this camera...for now.

Ricoh GXR is not new either, but being a modular system it is pretty hard to define what constitutes a "GXR camera". What is rumored to happen this year is the replacement of the A12 M mount module (though it was newly released) with a 16MP Sony sensor based AA-less M mount module. Considering how well Leica glass performs on the NEX-5N which has this sensor (though with an AA filter) the output from the alleged A16 M mount module should be nothing short of spectacular. Coupled with the excellent focusing aids and generally photographer-oriented interface this can be a real winner. Price? It ain't cheap, but might just be worth it. Once the new module hits the market we will see.

Finally, we have what just might be the most exciting camera of the bunch: The Olympus "OM" digital. At this point a few leaked pictures of it and a pile of rumors as far as specifications is all we have to go on, but if the real thing is anywhere near what the rumors point to we might get one hell of a nice camera from the guys at Olympus. 16MP sensor, built in EVF, weather sealed body, upgrades image stabilizer and more; all this for a rumored 1100EUR or so with a kit lens. I will admit that I was not much of a m4/3 fan, but looking closer at the system I see that they have an excellent lens lineup, some very good cameras, and the output appears to suffice for my needs. Carl Weese wrote an excellent article on TOP which convinced me of m4/3's viability for my shooting. "OM-D" and a 25/1.4? Well, that just might be the ticket.

So, 2012 is clearly the year of the serious mirrorless. We will see what else comes along. Good times!


Saturday, January 21, 2012

First scans with V700

Mamiya 645E, 80/2.8, Ultra 50
Working on scanning in all my negs with the V700.

So far medium format looks flat out excellent; I would not hesitate to make a 16x20 or larger from anything. 35mm does not look quite as good, but I am unsure as to whether it is due to the less-than-stellar gear I used to shoot with, or a lack of resolving power on the V700.

Crop of frame:

Acceptable or not? It makes a decent 8x10 but would not push it further.