*Amsterdam, a home away from home

reflections of a time past

Sometimes I lose track of what is and what isn’t familiar.  I can wake up in my own bed, surrounded by all of the elements involved in my habitual routine, and it takes me a moment to figure out where I am.  Other times, I can be thousands of miles away from home and feel as if I fit, I belong to the space I occupy.  All of us are, to an extent, just fumbling around this rock getting on with our lives, some of us possibly contributing more to the greater human experience than those of us photoblogging or whatever, but I’d like to think that certain places call us, mean more to us, regardless of our personal histories, and for some reason beyond my personal comprehension, just seem to make sense.  Like a familiar smell transporting me back to childhood, or meals reminding me of past occasions, Amsterdam has always just felt like home.

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*Another set of this guy’s opinions, or Mirrorless Lens buying guide!

IMG_6052 - Version 2 (1)

As requested from the camera body shopping guide post (thanks Tim and Chris), here are my opinions on the best lenses for the various mirrorless systems.  Keep in mind that I have not shot extensively with all of these lenses, or at least, many of the lenses for systems that aren’t the micro 4/3 system aside from the tire kicking in stores or when getting the chance to shoot friend’s gear, so my opinion is based on minimal use combined with personal intrigue and web based research.  Because I don’t own an X series or Alpha E (NEX, etc) camera body, I have not been able to access many of the lenses on offer for any period of time, but there are a few I have, as well as those that I would certainly look long and hard at if I was invested in these systems.  As for the micro 4/3 lenses, I have those down pretty well.  C’mon in and I’ll lay out my faves…

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*One man’s opinion, or Holiday Shopping guide 2013!

P1060085

The season for the commercialization of spirituality (or, SFTCOS) is upon us and following suit, we have been absolutely bombarded with new offerings in the digital photography department.  Taking the holidays out of it, and looking at it purely from a gear point of view, it is truly an exciting time to be shopping around for the best bang for your (or a loved one’s) buck.

Over the last 4 years that I’ve written this blog, I’ve been asked quite a few questions about which cameras, lenses, systems, et al, are the best.  While I’ve chosen the gear I’ve chosen for my own personal reasons, there are so many others out there that offer their own set of pros and cons, and to put it plainly, there is no universal truth, nor answer to that question.

Come on in and I’ll give my take on which of the newly announced cameras over the last year or so are the most intriguing, interesting, best value or just plain confusing…

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*The GX7 vs the OM-D E-M5, battle for my affection, Round 3 – IQ, Interface, Features and the Final Decision

round3

These two have gone toe to toe, and we’re all tired.  If you’re not, believe me you will be, this final round is a long one, and really the reason I needed to break this into three parts.  Now it’s time to see which, if either can really pull itself ahead and prove to be a better choice.  I use the word choice because, it will come down to a personal preference, or needed feature for any given shooter because both are great cameras.  I’m finding that it is a decision based more on what each camera doesn’t have as opposed to the qualities that they do.  Both are great, but what can you live without?  Here’s round three, the round to end all others…at least for me and my decision making process.

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*The GX7 vs the OM-D E-M5, battle for my affection, Round 2 – Build Quality and Ergonomics

BattleRound2blog - Version 2

The first round produced a bit of a shocker with the GX7 pulling out a surprise partial victory in the IBIS battle (read round 1 here).   The higher res EVF and LCD also fell in favor to the Panasonic.  Now, let’s look at the physical build and ergonomic qualities of these two cameras… ROUND 2!

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*The GX7 vs the OM-D E-M5, battle for my affection, Round 1 – IBIS, EVF’s & LCD’s

Battle

In this corner, Panasonic’s new, compact, fully featured camera weighing in at around a grand, the DMC GX7!  And his opponent, the current system champion in this price range, with many of the same features and weighing in at a cool grand as well, the Olympus OM-D E-M5!

I’ve had the GX7 for about a month now and feel that I’ve been able to give it a proper run through in a variety of shooting scenarios and have been comparing it to my OMD EM5 just about every step of the way.  I tried originally to compare these two cameras against each other in all ways I find them to differ, but the article has gotten ridiculously long, so we will break this into 3 rounds…  So, how do these two, high end pro-sumer micro 4/3 models compare to one another?   C’mon in and I’ll give you my opinion on where each of these cameras wins against the other starting with the in body image stabilization, electronic viewfinders and LCD screens.  Round 1, FIGHT:

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*Ladies and Gentlemen, The Panasonic GX7: A first look.

Lumix GX7

When Panasonic started to leak the GX7 micro 4/3 camera, I, along with many micro 4/3 fans started to pine for what seemed on paper to be one of the best offerings for the system yet.  Compact, nice grip, IBIS, focus peaking, a step forward in IQ, good video options, integrated EVF, WiFi, rugged chassis… I’m no fanboy, but I will admit to feeling that Panasonic has done a better job at the interface side of things, compared to Olympus in my experience with cameras from both manufacturers.  If I could gain access to what I saw as Oly’s two benefits in IBIS and newer sensor tech in a Pana body with it’s more streamlined, yet still customizable interface, I had to see if it could live up to the hype.  I’ve long felt that if Oly could re-engineer it’s interface and remove some of the frustrating quirks that plagued the EM5, or, if Panasonic could take a step forward in sensor performance and integrate a decent IBIS system, either could have a quintessential micro 4/3 juggernaut on their hands.  Is the GX7 the answer to those desires?

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*Olympus 75mm f/1.8 vs Canon 135 f/2 L

the showdown

One of my absolute all time favorite lenses has been my EF 135mm f/2 L USM.  Before I’d acquired this lens, I was looking for a mid range tele lens that I could use for portrait work as well as use for events, sports, etc.  The 135L a few years back cost me exactly as much as the Oly 75mm f/1.8 does today.  Yes, the Oly uses much less in the way of materials, far less glass, and is actually a 75mm lens, not a 135mm (or 150mm to be more accurate) lens, but, for the Micro 4/3 format, it is as close to that magical piece of glass that the 135L is for the Canon system.  Both are metal, neither are weather sealed and they’re each their own system’s mid-tele master.  Even with the extra glass, the 135L is a noticeably faster focuser (I’d assume largely due to the USM focusing motor and a superior PDAF in the EOS DSLR’s) but as to the quality of the actual images…

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*Moving upward and onward!

backyard shenanigans

don’t worry, there were no kids harmed during the photoshopping of this image.

Hello everyone!  You may have noticed that I’m quietly adding content to the site.  This is being done to try and make a more complete resource for those visiting the site to reference specific tutorial articles or find gear reviews, etc.  The biggest changes are the new “Tutorial” “Review” and “MyGear” pages up at the top of the page.  I will be trying to catalog the more popular tutorials and reviews for easy reference, and the new gear page has allowed me to link certain cameras, lenses and miscellaneous gear that I use to my affiliate links at B&H.  Yup, you read that right.  I’ve finally succumbed to the monetary necessity of trying to make a little coin to keep the site going.  Read on for my reasoning and ever cheesy gratitude…

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*Rokinon 7.5mm f/3.5 Fisheye, get wide.

IMG_3776

In the world of photography, a fisheye lens to me is kind of like a purse is to my wife.  Follow me for a second here.  You only use it on certain occasions and for certain purposes, with certain outfits if you will.  For the other times, you have a plethora of other purses to accessorize to your need.  For the times that you need that one, zany purse, the only one that goes with that crazy belt, then the fisheye is the ticket.  Since I’ve become re-enamored with photography, I have stopped asking about and wondering why my wife has as many purses as she does (and constantly wants more…sounds kinda familiar right?)  Don’t worry, I’m not turning this into a fashion blog, c’mon in and I’ll show you some shots of and from the stellar Rokinon 7.5mm fisheye lens.

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