Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Poking Fun at Hasselblad

Speaking of the "new" Hasselblad Lunar, here is another person's not so subtle, satirical take on that camera, the Habbelsad Looney! in Cordova, Tennessee, posted this on their blog. Funny doesn't even begin to describe this. You can read their post here.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

"New" Hasselblad and More!

It seems like Hasselblad finally noticed that Leica was lending their name to Panasonic-made cameras and people were actually willing to buy them. So, Hasselblad has teamed up with Sony, put a new "skin" on the Sony NEX-7 and is calling it the Hasselblad Lunar. You can even get it with carved wooden grips! And gold plating! And the cost? Only a bit under $6000! Of course, you can get the Sony version, the NEX-7, for $1100, but it won't say Hasselblad on it, will it? So there! As Dr. Sheldon Cooper would say, "Bazinga!"

On a sort of serious note, I can't decide if the design of the Lunar is really cool or really ugly. It kind of reminds me of some of Konica's cameras from the 1990s, like the Aiborg here. I couldn't decide then what I felt about this camera either! Ugly or cool? I was strangely attracted to this one and still regret not picking one up just for the sake of its oddity. And what does that say about me?

And on the Leica front, 2 new M-cameras have been announced, the M and the M-E. The M-E is the stripped-down economy version of the M9 and will sell for around $4500 for the body. The M is intended to replace the M9 and will have a new 24 MP sensor with live view, focus peaking, an optional EVF viewfinder, and will sell for a bit over $6000 for the body. It's hard to understand the logic behind Leica's new naming scheme. I mean, I get the M-E, since "E" stands for Economy, but going with just the M leaves me somewhat mystified. Why isn't it the M10? Are they intending that this is the last "M" model? What about other models down the road? Will all of them be called the "M"? How will we tell them apart? So many questions!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Battle of the Full-Frame Titans

Well, it's Photokina time again, as I mentioned the other day, and the titans of DSLRs, Nikon and Canon, are duking it out one more time. This time it's for an "entry" level full-frame DSLR. For Nikon, they have introduced the D600, and for Canon, they are introducing the D6. As said, both have full-frame sensors with the D600 at 24 MP and the 6D at 20 MP. Both have top shutter speeds of 1/4000 of a second. And both will sell around $2100 without a lens. Both cameras are fairly comparable to one another and will provide a needed alternative to higher priced models from Nikon and Canon.

As for how they differ, there are a few differences. The Nikon D600 has a built-in flash, 100% viewing, AF Assist Light, dual axis electronic levels, 39 AF points with 9 cross-type sensors, and an ISO range of 50 to 25,600. The Canon 6D will have no flash, 97% viewing, and 11 AF sensors with only 1 Cross type sensor. However the 6D will have an ISO range of 50 to 102.400, built-in WiFi and GPS, and will meter down to -3EV (the D600 will only measure down to -1EV). And the Canon 6D is about 100 grams lighter than the Nikon D600.

It's good to have options, so both cameras are very welcome.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Color Pioneer Charles Cushman

"Hobos" by Charles Cushman

National Public Radio has done a story on early color photographer Charles Cushman, who began documenting his life and the world around him with slide film in 1938 and then continued for 30 more years. His story is an interesting one that captures the rise of color photography for the amateur photographer. NPR created a multimedia presentation on Cushman that you can see and hear here. Check it out. It's worth your time.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

New Sony Cameras Announced, plus a couple of other cameras!

Just before Photokina, the world's largest photographic trade-show, opens, Sony has announced several new cameras. The most interesting of the bunch is the RX-1, a full-frame (35mm sensor) compact camera with a fixed 35mm f/2 Carl Zeiss Sonnar T lens. It views through the LCD screen on the back, but there will be optional optical finders and clip-on LCD monitors that you'll be able to attach to it. It has a 24 MP sensor and the ISO can be set anywhere from 50 to 102,400 and will be able to shoot at 5 frames per second. Like the Fuji X-100, this camera is aimed at the Henri Cartier-Bresson crowd or at least those photographers who tend toward street shooting and spontaneous snapshooting. And I don't mean to denigrate that term. I imagine RX-1 will be small, discrete, and produce very fine images, though the asking price around $2800 will put this camera out of the reach of a lot of photographers. Seems kind of high for basically a point-and-shoot pocket digicam, but I'm looking forward to checking it out. It is beautiful.

The next camera from Sony shares the same 24 MP full-frame sensor and that is the SLT-A99. Like the recent SLR offerings from Sony, this will not have an optical viewfinder, but will use an internal, electronic, high-resolution XGA OLED Tru-Finder with 100% coverage. Most folks are highly satisfied with the new Sony viewing systems. It will also use the Translucent Mirror System, where the mirror stays locked in the down position and you shoot through the semi-transparent mirror when photographing. The SLT-A99 will sell around $2700 for the body by itself.

Up next is the NEX-6, which is placed in the NEX line of cameras between the top of the line NEX-7 and the amateur-oriented NEX-5R. So it has an built-in EVF viewfinder in addition to the rear-screen LCD and uses a 16 MP sensor, and it will be priced somewhere between the two cameras, as well. It should sell for less than a $1000 for the body and the basic 16-50mm zoom lens.

And last, but not least, is the NEX-VG900 interchangeable lens video camera with a 24 MP full-frame 35mm CMOS APS-C sensor. It will use the standard Sony A-mount lenses from its SLR line and the body will sell for around $3,300. I think this is the first dedicated video camera with this large a sensor, though I could be wrong about that. This should be of interest to filmmakers. They are also announcing another video camera, the NEX-VG30, which uses the smaller APS-C 16 MP sensor and their E-mount lenses. The VG30 body will sell for about $1800.

And wrapping up the good news today, Hasselblad has a new camera to announce, the H5D. You'll be able to get it in 40, 50, and 60 MP single-shot versions, or even up to a 200 MP multi-shot version. And the price will be too high. Also Fuji is announcing the X-E1, another interchangeable lens camera which uses the same lenses as the X-Pro1, but only has the internal electronic viewfinder and not the hybrid optical/electronic viewfinder of the X-Pro1. But the X-E1 is sleek and beautiful and should be a picture-taking machine for around $1000 for the body and $1400 with the new 18-55mm f/2.8 lens. Fuji is definitely on a roll these days.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Photojournalists Embrace Instagram

A Mound of Sugar in Brazil by Ed Kashi

The British Journal of Photography has published an interesting article written by Olivier Laurent called, "The New Economics of Photojournalism: The rise of Instagram." You can and should read it here.

With around 80 million users around the world, Instagram for iPhone and Android is one of the biggest and most successful venues for sharing photographs with other people. So it's no surprise that even working photojournalists are now using it as a social media tool to reach new viewers and maintain connection to their existing audiences as a way of reinforcing themselves as a brand. And for breaking news, it's also one of the fastest ways to get your images out to the world in real time as the events happen. This is why it's become important to photojournalism.

Even though Instagram has been criticized by a lot of people, supposedly because the built-in instant effects cheapen photography as a whole, I guess I would say to those critics, "Lighten up." The effects give the images a certain recognizable look, but I find them to be kind of nice. Of course, not every effect works with every image, but that's the benefit of using apps like this. It takes no time at all to try out all the different effects on your image, to see how they look, and then upload them to Facebook or Twitter or whatever. It's all fast and easy. Nearly instant to the point that it almost seems like the logical conclusion to the idea behind Polaroid cameras and films. Instant photographic gratification. And that sounds perfectly fine to me.