*Goal Zero, clean, portable, endless power for a digital world.

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Does that sound like a commercial pitch?  I’m sorry, I’m just trying to be creative with these articles and the idea of writing about batteries, or rechargeable, storable and portable power might not tick too many boxes for those of us looking for a humorous review on the latest, greatest camera gear.

With that said, I can’t even begin to count the times over the past few years that I’ve been frustrated by low shot volume lithium ion, camera batteries.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s amazing technology, and the lifespan on many of these batteries is so far beyond what older batteries were, but with all the power hungry features in todays cameras, combined with the ever growing desire to see these machines not only become more powerful, but smaller and lighter, power is going to be compromised.  Anyone shooting an Olympus EM5/10 or Sony alpha camera can relate, I’m sure.

Enter Goal Zero, a solution for those of us who travel, shoot in the field or enjoy having some of the creature comforts while out in the wild, wild world.  A very cool company producing some very cool products.  C’mon in to read and see more…

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*Holy S#!† The new FW updates for the @Sony a7II and #Metabones EF smart adapter have created a monster.

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Sorry for my dirty, foul mouth. I’m just blown away by how much better my a7II and Canon EF lens setup has become overnight.  Long overdue, the Sony a7II got the much ballyhooed Uncompressed 14 bit RAW update (as opposed to that weird 11/7 compressed stuff, which is still nicely, an option) along with the return of the on sensor Phase Detection AF to the a7, pro-sumer camera with third party lenses.  Why they kept this out to begin with is beyond me, and really one of my gripes with the Sony approach as a whole, but now that it’s here, it is friggin’ amazing.  It is like I have an entirely new camera.  C’mon in for firmware update links, and a video comparison between the auto focus speed and performance from the original firmware on the a7II and Metabones mark IV adapter, and now that they’ve both very recently been updated…

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*The Topaz plugin half off sale is here with @topazlabs

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Starting today through the end of the month, Topaz is offering everything for 50% off.  The entire collection (normally $500) is available for $250 HERE, and as an extra added bonus, for those of us who already own some or many Topaz plugins, we can still take advantage of the sale by logging into our account via the Topaz Labs website (here) and gaining the 50% off on additional plugins by using the code “BLACKFRIDAY2015” at checkout.  The Complete Collection is already at a 50% discount from the full price for all plugins individually ($1,010), so really, if starting from scratch, this is really a 75% discount from purchasing the plugins one by one, which is kind of nuts.  

I’ve never shied away from praise for the various Topaz plugins I use regularly, and feel that there are a handful of irreplaceable plugins in my workflow.  The complete collection includes 17 plugins from DeNoise, ReMask, Adjust and Clarity to the brand new Texture Effects.

Come on in for more details and to see the full list of plugins… 

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*Quick look! Check out the dynamic range recovery on the GX8, which also happens to be on sale!

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I am mere hours of work away from posting my GX7 vs GX8 final comparison, but going through images from my work trip last week, I came across a snapshot I took while rushing to catch the tram.  The sun rise was begging to be recorded, and I quickly pulled my GX8 (on sale for $200 off right now DOH! see it at B&H HERE and Adorama HERE) with the PL15mm out of the bag and literally stopped walking for a second to take this shot.  The sky dominated the exposure, as it should have in this case, and just now I tried bringing up the shadows to see what I could get as I’d not really pushed any of the GX8 frames quite this far, in this way.  Well, color me frigging impressed… have a look:

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*First Look. Brand New Topaz Texture Effects on sale w/ @topazlabs

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Topaz continues to provide fun, intuitive and effective plugins with their most recent release, Topaz Texture Effects.  On sale via Topaz Labs website HERE for 30% off (normally $69.99, on sale through November 20th for $49.99 when you use code “TEXTUREFX” at checkout), as is often Topaz’ MO for new releases.  Come on in to read my thoughts, and to see more…

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*Pana-Leica 15mm f/1.7 ASPH Lens on Sale!

leica 15mm on sale!

This little gem is on sale for $70 off right now.  I’m not normally a sale pumper unless it is for stuff I use, I like and I would recommend.  If you’ve been on the fence, or waiting for this lens to drop a little, here’s a great opportunity to save a good amount of money on a great little lens.

Find the Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 15mm f/1.7 Aspherical lens on sale at Adorama HERE and B&H HERE.

If you’d like to see my review on the Leica 15mm, you can read that HERE.

Or, if you’d also like to read the head to head (to head) between the Leica 15, and the two Lumix Pancakes (14mm and 20mm) I did a comparison article HERE.

It is a great mate to any of the micro 4/3 cameras, especially the GM bodies, and is compact and lightweight enough to go largely unnoticed in the bag.  I’ve been shooting the 15mm on the new GX8 with its 20mp sensor providing great results for me.

 

*The Panasonic GX8 done grow’d up! A first look comparison w/ @LumixUSA

Panasonic Lumix GX7 vs GX8 Comparison

Panasonic has done well to progress the hybrid market bringing industry leading video features to remarkably affordable price points over the years.  The GH line has always pushed into new territory with budget oriented motion shooters compared to all else available on the market.  Along with cutting edge video features, they’ve also done well to provide competent still shooting devices incorporated into these wonderful, little mirrorless cameras.  The GF and GX lines have historically incorporated a more still shooter driven skill set in a smaller, rangefinder style body while adding admirable video features as well.

There’s been no hiding my love for the GX7 over the past few years.  In my mind, it has been the best balance of quality, size, feature and price yet available in the mirrorless landscape, playing to all of the benefits of a smaller format, mirrorless construction and very high end lens availability through the system partnership with Olympus, and third party collaboration and support from companies like Leica, Sigma, Voigtländer and many others.

With the GX8, Panasonic has brought us a newer, more beefed up version with the m4/3 system’s first 20mp sensor, dual IS feature and various 4K video and still modes in a camera that, while a bit bigger, can still fit into a large pocket with the right lens.  A great machine, but is it truly a step forward in all ways?  Having been shooting this camera extensively for the last month and a half, I feel comfortable giving my opinions and comparisons between the GX8 and it’s predecessor.  C’mon in…

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