It’s that time of year again! Complete Topaz Collection 50% off.

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The gears of time continue to grind, and we’re at that most opportunistic time of year for photographers.  Personally, you couldn’t pay me to wake up the morning after our Thanksgiving holiday to wait in line for a $0.99 DVD player at Walmart.  It’s a silly tradition built on a consumer culture’s need to find a deal at any cost.  Luckily for us, the marketing world has found opportunity in offering online deals for almost anything available, and for those of us that can hold off until this time of year, many killer deals can be found.  

As is often the case, Topaz has brought their half off deal to the black Friday party yet again, and it is an amazing deal.  You get all 17 Topaz plugins for $250, which is 50% off the already halved price of the Complete Collection, so in reality, it’s more like a 75% off sale if you were to individually buy these programs one or two at a time.  For those who already own one or many Topaz plugins, don’t fret!  They offer a “Collection Upgrade” where if you sign in on the website, it will automatically deduct the pricing for the plugins you’ve bought and registered, and offer you the remaining plugins at an even further decreased price.  This only works if upgrading to the Complete Collection though, as singular plugins will stay at full price.  The sale runs from Friday November 25th, through Wednesday November 30th.  You can always download full free trials of any or all Topaz plugins, but I’d try them soon if you want to go this route as it will be another year at least before getting a crack at all 17 of the plugins for the price of a few of them. Click the link below to go directly to the Topaz sale site.

Find the sale on Topaz website HERE, and use code “BLACKFRIDAY16” at checkout to receive the sale price.

I’ve written about and reviewed many of the Topaz plugins over the years here on the blog.  I thoroughly enjoy, and constantly use a solid handful of them.  Here are links to my reviews for a few of my favorites:

Topaz DeNoise – comparing DeNoise 5 vs DeNoise 6 

Topaz ReMask – If you’ve ever had to select anything in Photoshop, try this.  Seriously.

Topaz Clarity – Professional punch and definition with a single click.

Topaz Glow – Some seriously slick fractal effects

Topaz Adjust – A library of effects in a single plugin

Topaz Impression – Artistically visualize your imagery

I could go on, but rather than add to a list of links, just let me know if you have any particular questions on any of the plugins and I’d be happy to give you my personal opinion or any insight that I can.

Happy holiday season and thanks for stopping by.

I hope you and yours are well, and happy shooting.

tyson

Battle of some Portrait Primes. Full Frame vs m4/3, Zeiss vs Leica, let the pissing contest commence…

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Well hi there!  Been a while.  Yes, I’ve been focused largely on launching the Nauti Straps stuff (utterly shameless plug, of which it will not be the last, surely) which has been going smashingly thus far, so thank you to everyone who’s supported me in that venture.  That said and done, I’ve been long wanting to compare these two premier portrait focal length prime lenses for the two formats I shoot in concert in the Sony FE and micro 4/3 systems.  

Enter the Zeiss Batis 85mm f/1.8 Sonnar FE mount lens for Sony E mount cameras, and the Panasonic Leica 42.5mm f/1.2 DG Nocticron lens for micro 4/3 system shooters.

C’mon in for comparisons, pixel peeping galore and my thoughts as someone who has been shooting these two lenses for the better part of the last year.

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*Nauti Straps is a go! A new home for my hand built, camera straps w/Discount Code!

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Hello friends! I’ve been working tirelessly (well, okay, that’s a lie, I’ve been fairly delirious actually) over the last couple months to put together a new home for the camera straps that I’ve been building for the last few years.  With a new, grown up name and site, I give you, NautiStraps.com  

Along with the tried and true Cascade and Vector wrist straps, I have introduced two new, shoulder straps as well.  The Speed Sling is a pared down version of the Speed Holster Strap that we launched through Mettle Cycling (available directly soon), and the new Regatta Strap which utilizes a very high performance, dual braid yachting line for a comfortable, and very strong option.  

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Many of you found my blog through the wrist straps that I’ve been building and selling.  Thank you for the support over the years.  If you’ve enjoyed them, I’d greatly appreciate any buzz you can help me create for these.  My wife and I are the dual proprietors of this new venture, and instead of kickstarting or asking for money up front, we’d rather try to build on the reputation I’ve worked so hard to create over time and have already invested in the material to actually make these.  No need to pledge, you or a photog friend can get one whenever you want.  So a tweetmyfacestagram, repost or even a comment here would be awesome.  As always, I’d love to hear about your experience with them, and you can get to me through the Nauti Straps site, or contact me HERE.

Pricing stays the same as it has always been, the only differences are that product and shipping are separate on the new site, and I can now take credit cards directly through the site along with PayPal.  As a thank you to all my friendly blog readers, I’ve set up a discount specifically for anyone that would like to try out a new Nauti Strap.  Use code “TRPBLOG” at checkout for 15% off any and all straps this week.  

Go to NautiStraps.com HERE

Finally, if you have an Instagram account, I’d love to connect there as well.  You can find us @nautistraps and follow for promos, giveaways and photo fun.  We’re a follow back kind of couple too🙂

Stay tuned here on the blog which I’ll keep updated with new releases and designs as we launch them.  You can still find us through the Camera Straps Page HERE as well.

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Thanks all, happy shooting and #getnauti!

Tyson

*Finally, new Speed Holster Straps finished and available exclusively through Mettle Cycling!

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This strap has been a labor of love.  Over the last 6 months or so, I’ve worked on a design to keep a camera from swinging all over the place while riding or hiking while also enabling quick and easy one hand operation to swing the camera back and forth.  Those with a keen eye may have seen some leaks as we’ve eluded to this design over that time.    My friend and collaborator, Randall and I have finally launched the new Speed holster Strap over on his site: MettleCycling.com Head over and check them out!

The Speed Holster Strap focuses on weight (weighs a few ounces) and a low profile, perfect for those that like to blend riding and photography.  Meant to carry a small to mid size system camera (or compact) via the quick release clip and heavy duty, 170b split ring attached to the camera.  Offered in two sizes, M/L for those riders up to about  5’10” and then and XL for us gangly monsters.   The holster piece comes across your chest and under your opposite arm to keep the camera from swinging while riding or hiking around and will relatively stay put when put back.  

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These are a very labor intensive product, so we’re only able to do small runs at a time.  We’ll see how these are received and then try to continue to keep up with any demand.  Head over to MettleCycling.com and grab one while they’re still around.

Thanks to all who’ve helped us prototype these, and to Randall for getting these out to the community.  Tag us with #trpblography and #onmymettle so we can see and share your shots and of course, we’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences with us via the socials: find me on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and Instagram.   

Happy shooting,

Tyson

@Lensbaby Twist 60, rebirth of a classic, quirky, beautiful optic w/@SeeInANewWay

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Lensbaby’s optical engineers have done it again.  After moving away from the toy camera replication type lenses into more complicatedly designed optics with lenses like the Sweet 35 and 50, Edge 50 and 80 and the Velvet 56, they’ve replicated the swirly vortex of the old Joseph Petzval designed optic from 174 years ago with this new Twist 60.  Don’t dismiss this lens as pure kitsch, as it is remarkably sharp where you’d want it for a portrait lens (middle frame) and while, wide open you’ll see some pretty severe vignetting to go along with the twirly bokeh, this adds to its charm and vintage qualities.  Portrait painters of yesteryear used many different brushes to create their renditions, and this can certainly be seen as a wonderfully specialized brush for the portrait photographer, along with those looking to add some fun to shots of any kind. 

While perhaps not an effect to suit everyone’s taste, it is one that has found a place for certain portrait and fine art photographers looking to add in camera effects to visibly differentiate their look.  With other companies seeing the value in chasing this corner of the market with lenses like the Kickstarter Petzval clone and the Trioplan Soap bokeh lenses that are looking to be launched on the market, it’s obvious that there is some demand for these newer versions of throwback optical designs.  The question though, is how much are photographers looking for these optical effects willing to pay?

Priced at a very modest $280 for the Twist 60 Lens (optic and non-tilting metal lens body housing) available in Canon EF, Nikon F and Sony E mount, or $180 for the optic solely, the Twist 60 is certainly worth a look.  You can find it at Adorama HERE, B&H HERE or directly through Lensbaby HERE.

C’mon in for more example shots, some technical mumbo jumbo and my thoughts on this lens…

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*GX8 Shutter Shock test. Mechanical and Electronic both with and without IBIS…

IMG_9722I had never, ever noticed any issue with shutter shock personally.  This goes for my experience with the GX8, the OMD EM5 years back that many claimed to have had issues, and any other camera I’ve owned and shot with.    This isn’t to say that my cameras didn’t suffer from this issue, I’m just saying that I’ve never noticed it.  That may be that I’ve not been a huge pixel peeper (except when doing these types of tests for these articles) or perhaps I’ve just been easily able to excuse any softness for whatever reason.

That said, I have received a few emails over the last couple months asking specifically about the shutter shock issue with the GX8 and so I thought it might be handy to run a test to satisfy my own curiosity, and better equip myself when attempting to answer these types of inquiries.  C’mon in to see the results…

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*ZY Optics, Zhong Yi Mitakon Speedmaster 25mm f/0.95 lens for Micro 4/3 user review

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Small, sharp, fast, relatively light and comparably inexpensive.  All things I love in a lens.  ZY Optics has produced yet another ultra fast option for micro 4/3 shooters, but a first option available in a dedicated mount, faster than f/1.4, new for under $400. 

The question now stands, how does this fit in with all the other standard/normal lens offerings within the micro 4/3 landscape?  Well, more easily than you might think.  While not perfect, it definitely has enough going for it to justify a look.  C’mon in for my thoughts and some tests against the Pana-Leica 25mm f/1.4 Summilux…

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