Friday, November 15, 2013

Pentax K20D - Still Loving It

Pentax K20D - Still Loving It

Yeah it's five years old, and this is my third K20D. And yes, Pentax has the new  K-3 out there now. There are those that wonder why I still hold onto some older DSLR cameras when there are so many new and shiny DSLRS's available on the market, especially with the Pentax K-3flagship dangling in front of me. The answer in short, is that I reserve the right to have specific tastes. I've liked many cameras and have loved but a few. I won't talk about the one's I've hated- it's pointless. My needs are as specific as anyone else's and, just as unique. Sometimes we photographers agree on our tastes/needs and sometimes we don't. That's life. With that said, I find great satisfaction in sharing my opinion with others, and, at the same time, I find equal satisfaction in listening to theirs. Humans can be a fickle species, and I'm no different. Needs and desires change all the time, admittedly desires more than needs, but nevertheless we all have that in common to one degree or another.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Nikon Df- First Impressions

Nikon Df- First Impressions
November 2013, Carl Garrard
 Yesterday Nikon announced an interesting camera- about a week after a buzz campaign had been on the net for all to watch. The camera to the left is touted to be many things by Nikon, but I'm not here to discuss what they think of the camera. I'm going to give my raw impressions on what this campaign and camera have left on me. The Nikon Df  is certainly a striking camera by any measure. The exterior exudes functionality first in design, that in the minds eye of this writer, also exudes beauty. Practically designed cameras have always seemed beautiful to me, because it is very obvious the design is meant to appeal to a working photographer.

Nikon Df Information Page

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Sony Cybershot RX10- A Wolf in Wolf's Clothing

Sony Cybershot RX10- A Wolf in Wolf's Clothing
October 2013, Carl Garrard
Sony's Cybershot division hard at work, again. This time making an impressively spec'd fixed lens digicam with an optimized 24-200mm f/2.8 Carl Zeiss T* lens in front of a 1" sized sensor. The price? $1,299.00 SRP.  While that price is steep from any angle, you need to consider what you are getting for that price. First of all, there's no DSLR lens available with a 24-200mm equivalent focal range and constant f/2.8 aperture anywhere on the planet. Also, this is a Carl Zeiss lens with T* coating optimized in front of one of the best mid sized sensors I've ever tested. Add too a manual aperture ring w/detent switch for purists. That is the star of the show here. Also the camera body itself is also pretty impressive in build with a magnesium and high tech composite frame. There's a top mounted LCD, a slew of external controls, a big tiltable LCD, and very nice big EVF at 1.4 million dots with .7X 35mm equivalent view (basically the same view size you see in expensive full frame digital SLRs). Still a lot of money for you? Don't read on. Sound like a good deal? Have a peek further... (specs first, commentary below them).

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX1- Review

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX1 Review
October 2013, Carl Garrard
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX1 Review
The GX1 made waves not too long ago and after a bit of time with one I can see why. This little GX1 is really growing on me. It's not the most comfortable camera to use one handed, but I'm learning to live with it and get around its shortcomings in handling. What I like about this camera is that it's small and completely pocketable with a 17mm pancake on it.  I can use every ISO setting in raw confidently, and it has accurate and blazing fast auto focus. It's controls are adequate, and so is its menu system. Neither blow me away but it doesn't get in my way when shooting stills either. If you want a more detailed review, read on.

Search Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX1 Best Price

Pentax K-50 Review (Part 1)

Pentax K-50 Review
October 2013, Carl Garrard
Pentax K-50 Review: You'd think that enthusiasts would be uncontrollably jumping for joy because of the kind of DSLRS we get today for the prices they are set at. But alas, I still see comment after comment about pricing and lack of features and all sorts of other nonsense. Pentax seem to be throwing the gauntlet at those customers with the K50. It's both reasonably priced and spec'd to the hilt, and even comes with a class leading weather resistant kit lens to boot. There's simply no arguing that the K50 is a lot of camera for the price, by anyone. And when you dig deeper than looking over spec sheets and price, you'll find that there's even more to like about this camera. Interested? Read on.

Pentax K-50 Best Price Three Colors

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

New Pentax K3 DSLR Announced

New Pentax K3 DSLR Announced
October 2013, Carl Garrard
Pentax has announced its highest level DSLR to date, the new Pentax K3 DSLR. It sits above the similar styled Pentax K5 II/S models and features the most advanced auto focus system and highest resolution sensor from any Pentax camera before it. Pentax has long been a favorite of mine in that they make cameras that provide nearly every item an enthusiast wish list could want, and every year they keep adding to that list. The K3 adds quite a few substantial upgrades over the K5 including more resolution (24mp vs 16), higher frame rate (8.3fps vs 7fps), larger viewfinder view (.95X vs .92X), larger LCD screen (3.2 " vs 3"), and much more enhanced video options for those who do that stuff.

Pentax DSLR Sale Prices

Monday, September 16, 2013

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LC1: When Will I Ever Learn?

What a looker.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-LC1: When Will I Ever Learn? As a reviewer, cameras come in and out of my hands often faster than I have time to review them- that is just the nature of the game. My digital experience goes back to 2001, when digital cameras were just really starting to make head way into the camera market and film was making a gracious exit from the saloon. In all this time, there are few cameras that I've used, even reviewed, and in this case owned twice or three times that no matter what I try to do- cannot shake them from my fond memories. And in the case of the Panasonic DMC-LC1, I can't shake my desire to use it- no matter how many times I've owned it (counting it's twin brother, the Digilux 2 as well here).

Panasonic DMC-LC1 Availability and Price Check

Friday, September 13, 2013

Sony Cybershot RX100 M II - Full Review

Sony Cybershot RX100 M II Review
August 2013, Carl Garrard
Sony Cybershot RX100 M II Review- Sony's Cybershot RX100II (mark II) camera adds some upgrades (minor or major depending on their value to you) to the RX100 and sells for about $100.00 more than the RX100 at introductory resale prices. For those that have lived under a rock, it sports a 1" size 20mp BSI CMOS sensor, a 28-100mm f/1.8-4.9 Vario-Sonnar branded Zeiss lens (bye bye Carl...) w/auto lens cover, tilting LCD, multi-interface hot shoe, add on grip option, user customizable front control ring, all metal case, near field wi-fi, full video compliment, and much more. Take a look at what I think of the second version of this camera.


Best RX100 II Instant Price Check

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Adobe Cloud- Don't Be Fooled

Today Adobe announced a new cloud based subscription price on certain Adobe products. I'm not going to link to Adobe or mention the pricing scheme. Fact remains that Adobe isn't listening to their consumers. Enthusiast and Professional photographers largely do not want to pay a subscription for software they should own. They don't want to have their work on a cloud. And it's simple why Adobe isn't abandoning this nutty idea right away- they've invested a lot of money and time into this project. They want it to succeed. They also want to earn more profit by creating less workforce. I'm not a supporter of this idea at all. For those of you who think its a good price- just remember that price now and the price later are a totally different ballgame. For those of you who need a push: Think long term and don't be suckered into this shroud scheme. Adobe pretends to care about you now, so this project will gain enough traction to start a chain reaction an dependence on this way of doing business. Don't do it.

Adobe CS6 Standard Edition NOT CLOUD BASED

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Ricoh HZ-15 Announced

Ricoh HZ-15 Announced
August 2013, Carl Garrard

The blend of companies that is now "Ricoh" is starting to show fruit of the labor that merging creates. Ricoh now adorns the HZ-15, in a new camera that is Ricoh's first compact superzoom. It's got quite a spec sheet for a camera of this type, but certainly isn't alone in the world of superzoom compacts. Still, it's nice to see a Ricoh logo on a camera like this and I rather like the style. More on the HZ-15 below. This camera has been ignored in today's announcements, so I wanted to bring it to light for my readers. Ricoh UK published the press release, so it's apparently fair game! RICOH HZ-15 SEARCH

Monday, August 26, 2013

Upcoming Dual Review- Sony Alpha A58 DSLT and 18-55mm SAM II Lens

Upcoming Dual Review- Sony Alpha A58 and 18-55mm SAM II
August 2013, Carl Garrard
Yep tis time for another Sony review, this time a dual camera and lens review in one. The camera and lens comes to our doorsteps here tomorrow and then the evaluation begins. This is likely Sony's last A-Mount camera to be made, future cameras are going to be hybrid mount cameras (if you believe the believable rumors out there), so I didn't want this one to escape our claws. As some of my readers know, I cut my teeth on reviewing cameras with Sony cameras exclusively- so I know them probably better than any other cameras out there. The Sony A58 is the latest edition and the new kit lens promises internal focusing and optical improvements. Price? Check here: Sony A58 and 18-55mm Kit or here..... (below)

Sony A58 and 18-55mm Kit

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Sony Cybershot RX100 II- In for Review

Sony Cybershot RX100 II- In for Review
August 2012, Carl Garrard
Sony's RX100 II is now at Photographic-Central for review! As many readers know I wasn't quite sold on the implementation of the original RX100 but this model, although more expensive, addressed some of the design decisions that I criticized. Obviously one person's opinion does not shape a camera design, but it's obvious to me that my criticisms weren't alone on the RX100 since the successor incorporated those very criticisms into the next design. Good for Sony to do just that!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Minolta Dynax 800si Project- A Review of Film Fundamentals (updated)

Minolta Dynax 800si Project- A Review of Film Fundamentals
July 2013, Carl Garrard
Minolta Dynax 800Si
The Minolta Dynax 800si project started with an idea heavily inspired by the great Steve McCurry (who's photography you are more familiar with than you might be aware). For those who don't know, Steve is the only person to shoot the last roll of legendary Kodak Kodachrome film, and he had only 36 exposures to make. You can view this wonderful documentary here and see the images here, I highly recommend both. Steve is a perfectionist and his exposures were absolutely spot on (no technical errors that I spotted), which is a huge inspiration for me.

Panasonic Lumix G5- Full Review

Panasonic Lumix G5- Full Review
August 2013, Carl Garrard
Panasonic Lumix G5- Full Review: Panasonic's Lumix G5 has been out for quite some time but represents excellent value for the dollar. It sports the same sensor in its high end GH2 camera with 16 megapixels, and has most of the features that it's newest cameras have as well. The kicker is the price, down to $300.00 body only at Amazon and a couple of other online retailers. On paper the Lumix G5 represents the best deal going for m4/3 users so if you've been waiting to try out a micro four thirds camera set up, the Lumix G5 just may be your affordable ticket into the show. Like I said, the Panasonic Lumix G5 is loaded with features and my review will attempt to cover how this camera performs from my usual photographer first perspective.

Panasonic Lumix G5 Body Only Price (Instant Search)

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Panasonic Lumix GX7- Review Coming!

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7- Review Coming! Announced!
August 2013, Carl Garrard
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7- Review Coming! So here it is, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7- officially. This is a camera that Panasonic users have been waiting for. Design wise, it's a fusion of the GX series with a nod to the older DMC-LC1 and DMC-L1 cameras at least in spirit and is the only interchangeable camera in the world to have two fixed tiltable displays.  The GX7 is loaded with features and a new sensor, and has a ridiculous host of specifications (read press release below). Notable is that it is the first camera from Panasonic to have in body image stabilization - so any lens attached is now stabilized. It will be offered in 3 variations- two with different kit lenses.

Panasonic GX7 Best Price Search

Monday, July 29, 2013

Panasonic Lumix G5 Deal- Quick Review

Panasonic Lumix G5 Deal- Quick Review

Probably the best deal in Mirrorless right now is the Panasonic Lumix G5 at $301.00 at Panasonic DMC-G5 Amazon Deal! This camera is loaded with features and has most of what the G6 has (including the same sensor) for about 1/2 the price here. For a mirrorless body, I don't see a better deal out there unless you want a really small body. If you need smaller the GX1 is priced at $299.00 at Amazon right now too. The G5 has everything you need in a camera, an excellent built in EVF, 6FPS, 3" tilt and swivel LCD, awesome video, art filters, excellent resolution, fast auto focus and much more. Read more

Panasonic DMC-G5 Amazon

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Sony Alpha A200- Re-Review

Sony Alpha A200- Re-Review
July 2013, Carl Garrard
Sony Alpha A200: Re-Review- Introduction: Yep that title is correct. I'm reviewing this camera all over again, but why? Well, that's easy. My first review of the A200 just flat out sucked. Yep, I said it, and have no qualms about admitting it. I've learned a lot since I've reviewed the A200 the first time and  picked one up for next to nothing used in like new condition from an excellent seller on ebay. After spending a couple months with it (again) I realized that there were a lot of good things about this camera that I missed or didn't emphasize in a way they should have been for A-Mount readers. Lets take another (short) trip with the A200.

Sony Alpha A200 Used Price Search

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Olympus Stylus XZ-10 Review

Olympus Stylus XZ-10 Review (Final)
July 2013, Carl Garrard
Olympus Stylus XZ-10 Review- Lately, Olympus has been on a bit of a tear with it's cameras, introducing a lot of hot new enthusiast level cameras in its micro four thirds line and its stylus lineup as well. The XZ-10 is the latest enthusiast level compact from Olympus that sits one level below the XZ-2 (it's flagship compact). From its exterior it may look like just another point and shoot camera but this my friends is a wolf in sheep's clothing. This camera is loaded with solid specs and promises very good performance from its back-lit CMOS sensor and very bright 26-130mm f/1.8-2.7 i.Zuiko lens. In fact, this camera is so full of features, I can't help but feel a bit overwhelmed in addressing them with you. But as I say, I like a good bang for the buck and the XZ-10, at least on paper, may very well be at the top of the heap for its price. 

Olympus XZ-10 Instant Price Range Check

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Kenko LCD Protection Film- The Very Best!

LCD protectors are a popular item to anyone that cares about the appearance of their camera. And trust me...I've used them all. And without a doubt this film from Kenko is the best product of its kind that I've used in this idustry. If you want a hard glass protector, ACMAXX are probably the best (ebay) of it's kind out there. Yet if you yearn for flexible, removable LCD protection film this one has them all beat. Installation instructions are the best I've seen, as well as how Kenko tabs the front and rear removal film for the user. The anti-reflective qualities and anti smudging quality beat every type of protector I've used, including the glass types. Kenko must have done their homework on this project because what they claim is what you get. I'm not usually hot on reporting about accessory products on this website, but I just had to share this one with readers here. Price is also very good. Pick one up and let me know what you think, and if I've missed anything.

Kenko LCD Protection Film

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Olympus 15mm f8 Review (BCL-1580)

Olympus 15mm f8 Review (BCL-1580)
July 2013, Carl Garrard
Olympus 15mm f/8 Review (BCL-1580)- July has been a hot month for reviews on Photographic Central. Today I review the somewhat new and definitely unique Olympus 15mm f/8 Lens on a silver Olympus E-PL2 (the most beautiful Pen design yet I say). In case you didn't know, BCL in its technical name stands for Body Cap Lens. Indeed this little lens is just that, similar in size and weight to a DLSR or Mirrorless camera's body cap. Prices range from $39.99 to $69.99 here in the USA, and mine came in at the lower price. This lens is a fixed aperture lens with a mechanical focus lever offering a surprisingly wide range of focusing, including what Olympus calls "close" focusing.

Olympus BCL-15mm f8.0 Best/Current Amazon Price

Canon Powershot SX130IS- Review

Canon Powershot SX130IS- Review
July 2013, Carl Garrard
Hi. I'm the SX130is. Do you want to play?
Ok, you hate complicated cameras but you still want one that can shoot just about everything. Or maybe you are on a budget and don't want to be stuck with your camera phone or a very low end point and shoot camera. How about a refurbished Canon Powershot SX130IS for $89.00 that covers 28-336mm with an f/2.8-5.6 lens? How about it? Well if you look to your left, that's the camera I'm talking about, and the price I got mine for. Today the used camera market has never been better but finding the diamonds in the rough can be daunting. This is what you hired me for though, to do the dirty work for you. Come lads and lassies, lets venture forth!

The land of the SX130IS awaits you!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Olympus Stylus XZ-10- In For Review!

Olympus Stylus XZ-10- In For Review
July 2013 Carl Garrard
Today Photographic-Central received the Olympus Stylus XZ-10 for review, and I've had about 5 minutes with the camera (while I'm down for the count here at home). For reminder, this is an enthusiastic level pocket compact camera with a 26-130mm f/1.8-2.7 lens and loaded with tons of features. My first 5 minutes/impressions with this camera have been extremely impressive. This has to be the fastest focusing pocket compact I've ever used, and its build quality is equally impressive. The control dial and zoom toggle feel absolutely perfect - well sprung so they aren't fiddly. There is of course much more to share about the XZ-10 and I will do so. Please check in soon and likely I'll have a review up.  For now you can check out the specifications etc on the link below.

Olympus XZ-10 Best Price Searched!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Pentax MX-1 Review

Pentax MX-1 Review
June 2013, Carl Garrard
Pentax has been out of the enthusiast compact fixed/lens camera market for quite some time now. The last "serious" enthusiast fixed lens compact from Pentax that I recall came in the form of the Optio 750Z, which was introduced sometime around 2004. That's some hiatus. With a surge of entry level compact sales going to camera phones instead, it's time for manufacturers to knock the dust off of serious designs and cater more than ever to enthusiasts. The MX-1 offers many modern features on paper with a unique flair of style that harkens back to its 35mm film glory days. It's nice to see Pentax enter the enthusiast compact market again, albeit a  pretty crowded one.

Pentax MX-1 Best Available Price

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Canon Powershot A1200 Review

Canon Powershot A1200 Review- July 2013 Carl Garrard
Tis always the season for a new digital camera, and some of you like to get them on a budget. Hunting through the massive inventories of budget compacts on the market for the best deals isn't easy, but I've settled my sights on this little gem from Canon- the Powershot A1200 compact camera. Even with a wealth of experience with the camera market, choosing cameras to review is still a bit hit and miss. My goal is to bring forth reviews to my readers that are about interesting cameras that are a good bang for the buck. I carefully spend my time sifting through the various models old and new, to find little diamonds to share with you. So, is the Powershot A1200 a hit, or a miss for the price?

Canon Powershot A1200 Best Amazon Deal

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Canon EOS M Deal

Couldn't pass up letting other photographers know about this deal from B&H Photo. A new EOS M and 22mm STM f/2 lens for only $299. Offer is only good for a very short time. I'd grab one while you can as I myself am getting one too! The EOS M is a simplified mirrorless camera with touch screen and a very nice 18mp APS-C sized sensor. The 22mm STM lens is silent and offers a fast bright aperture. The package together is a steal in terms of a portable high image quality camera. Grab it and forget it at that price! Go direct here: CANON EOS M & 22mm STM f/2 LENS DEAL!