Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Pentax Introduces New Optio VS20 Dual Position Compact and 20X Zoom

Pentax's Optio VS20 20X Zoom w/Vertical Shooting Enhancements
January 25th, 2011- Carl Garrard 

Pentax's Optio VS20 kind of breaks new ground for portrait photographers by being the first ever compact fixed lens camera to include an extra zoom lever and shutter release designed solely to aid in portraiture/vertical shooting. The VS20 also includes a secondary grip on the face plate that further aids in vertical shooting ease of use. Besides these stand out features, the VS20 is equipped with a 20x 28-560mm f/3.1-f4.8 (faster aperture than the usual superzoom) equivalent zoom lens and a 16mp 1 2/3" CCD sensor (that's right, it's not a BSI CMOS sensor).

Pentax VS-20 Best Price Check

Monday, January 16, 2012

Sony Cybershot DSC-V3 Review- A Cybershot Powerhouse

Sony Cybershot DSC-V3 Review- A Cybershot Powerhouse
January 2012, Carl Garrard 
Sony DSC-V3 Price Check
Sony V3 Review: As Canon clearly shows with the G1X, the age of the enthusiast level rangefinder styled compact is far from dead. Sony's DSC-V3 was the last of its kind, unfortunately, and one has to wonder just how far along that camera's successor would be now if Sony had only continued the V series lineup. Although the V series is seemingly a forgotten line for Sony, it still remains a unique and interesting camera some 7 years after it's introduction for some shooters like me. I've even made Sony a V5 blueprint/concept in this review (complete with image!).

Sony DSC-V3 Price Check

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Minolta MD Mount- Vivitar SCS 28mm f/2.8 Close Focus Lens

Minolta MD Mount- Vivitar SCS 28mm f/2.8 Close Focus Lens
January 2012- Carl Garrard
 Check Prices On USED LENSES

Snapshot Review: Vivitar was once a more well known and respected lens maker during the film era than they currently are. They produced a large quantity of high quality prime lenses that you can find on Ebay now for mere pennies compared to new lenses. This one is one of my favorites for the price that I use on my Pentax and 4/3 gear alike. I purchased this lens for a mere $20.00 plus shipping and it arrived in like new condition. Mounted on the 4/3 mount it gives a 35mm equivalent close focus magnification of  1:2.5 (35mm magnification is 1:5) and has a reasonably bright f/2.8 aperture just as the name suggests.

Check Prices On Lenses

Friday, January 6, 2012

Panasonic Lumix DMC-L1- Still a Real Gem!

Panasonic Lumix DMC L1 Review- Still a Real Gem!
January 2012, Carl Garrard
Panasonic DMC-L1 w/Minolta MD Rokkor 45mm f/2
Panasonic L1 Review- The Four Thirds mount may have been shown the door, but that doesn't diminish the shine of some of the cameras that use/used it, namely the DMC-L1 by Panasonic. Some of you may have this camera confused by the DMC-LC1 but the two cameras couldn't be more night and day different. After all the L1 is a true DSLR in a rangefinder's clothing unlike the LC1 which is a fixed lens digicam. And some of you still may have this camera confused with using the Micro Four Thirds mount, but this camera existed well before m4/3 was even conceived. Today it still remains one of my favorite cameras of all time, and for reasons I will outline. My current  L1 is relegated to doing near infrared photography only, having been converted by Spencers Camera as a dedicated near IR photographic tool.

As a tool for near IR photography it contains all of the essentials plus a few hidden surprises that make it a dream to work with. And the image quality it produces still impresses even though it is some six years old.

Panasonic DMC-L1 w/Leica Kit Lens Price Check New

Friday, December 30, 2011

Sony A65 Review- Alpha Ala TMT

Sony A65 Review- Alpha Ala TMT  (Updated 3-30-2012)
November 2011, Carl Garrard
Sony A65 Best Price Check
 Sony A65 Review: When my hand first wrapped around the Sony A65 I knew it was the medium sized bodied camera I had been wanting from Sony for quite some time- at least in it's size and form factor. I won't be shy to say that I favor medium sized DSLR's (or DSLT's/DTMT's) over typically larger Pro and Enthusiast level DSLR's. I find a medium sized body to be more practical for all day holding yet still fully functional and controllable when using larger lenses. Find out the rest of my thoughts on the A65 next.

Sony A65 Best Price Check

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Nikon Coolpix P300 Review

Nikon Coolpix P300 Review
December 2011, Carl Garrard
Nikon P300 Review: This being my first ever official Nikon review, I want readers to note this isn't the first Nikon camera I've used- far from it in fact. That being mentioned I'll get right on into it. Nikon's Coolpix P300 is a pocketable wide angle 24-100mm f/1.8-4.9 lens digital camera that sports manual modes, interesting scene modes, and some enthusiast styling and controls. Image reviewing and framing is made way a of 3" LCD screen with 920,000 dots- there is no optical viewfinder. Video wise it is capable of full 1080p HD video and even has 120fps VGA 120 and 720 60fps video modes.

Just about right for the family camera I say, one that will handle vacations and work at home equally well. Enthusiasts might be put off by the lack of a raw file option but the Jpeg image quality might please you enough. Currently the price is about $329.00 brand new, but refurbished models can also be found for much less at this link below. I suggest that if you are looking for a good deal and interested in the P300, to check prices regularly as they do vary.
Nikon Coolpix P300 Current Price Check

Monday, November 28, 2011

Pentax DA 35mm f/2.4 AL Review

SMC Pentax-DA 35mm f2.4 AL Review
November 2011, Carl Garrard
Pentax DA 35mm f2.4 AL Lens Review
Introduction- The budget 35mm f2.4 is compact lightweight standard equivalent lens for all Pentax DSLRs (as of the time of this writing). As the name implies, it has a relatively bright max f/2.4 aperture and 50mm equivalent (in 35mm terms) field of view. This lens is for the budget conscious or those who like a good bang for the buck. Pentax denotes that this lens is good for beginners who want better picture quality from a prime lens without having to spend a lot of money to do so.

Pentax 21987 DA 35mm f/2.4 AL Lens for Pentax Digital SLR cameras

Saturday, November 19, 2011

36mp? Enough is Enough!

36 Megapixels? Enough is Enough!
November 2011, Carl Garrard

Rumors have it (or leaks if you believe like me) that Sony are set to introduce a new 36mp sensor for the A900 replacement. The recent experience I've had with the new 24mp APS-C sensor from Sony is cause enough to give me pause on the thought of a full frame camera having this much resolution. Why? For several reasons. First of all, the cost of the production of camera will have to increase for development of the new chip. Secondly the file sizes are going to be monstrous putting massive loads on your storage card, hard drives, and image post processing time. More...

Sony Alpha A900 24.6MP Digital SLR Camera (Black)

Pentax K5 DSLR Review

Pentax K5 DSLR Review (Updated 11-20-2011 New ISO 51,200 Gallery)
October 2011, Carl Garrard

Pentax K5 Best Price Check

Pentax K5 DSLR Review: In the past ten years or so I've used and/or owned many digital, film, and digital SLR cameras-  more perhaps than I'd like to count or share. In that time very few cameras truly rise up as my overall favorites. They've come in large and small packages, expensive and inexpensive alike. Price or size has never been a necessary determining factor in a design. I admire cameras of all makes and sizes and prices.

Few of those designs, and I mean very few, have taken ahold of my imagination and photographic spirit the way the Pentax K5 has. This extensive review explains why the Pentax K5 is truly a special camera to me, and why it is my vote for DSLR of the Decade.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Pentax K5 Limited- Totally Worth It

Pentax K5 Limited- Totally Worth It
November  2011, Carl Garrard

Not so long ago someone offered some advice, warning me that purchasing a K5 Limited is a waste of money and not worthwhile. Although I can see the logic in that advice for most circumstances, I don't believe that advice holds in this particular one. Being that the K5 is the most impressive DSLR overall that I've used in the last 10 years It's quite unlikely that I'll find another camera that will take it's place anytime soon. Although some cameras may perform better than the K5 in certain specific categories or circumstances, I don't think any of them will make a better all round camera than the K5 does for my needs.

Pentax K-5 16.3 MP Digital SLR with 3-Inch LCD (Black Body Only)

Monday, October 31, 2011

Ricoh GRD IV Review- Exclusive!

Ricoh GRD IV Review- Exclusive! (Updated 11-4-2011)

October 31st 2011, Carl Garrard
Ricoh GR DIGITAL IV Check Prices
Ricoh GRD IV Review- It's indeed a spooky Halloween, a mysterious black camera arrived for testing and evaluation- the newest GR Digital from Ricoh. I am admittedly a huge Ricoh GRD fan, and by that it makes me more critical than most might be to changes in the design. Ricoh's last GRD, the GRDIII was the most impressive of the series overall that I've used to date (and I've used all of the digital GR Digital models). The GRD IV promises progressive improvements along with being the first camera ever to have Sony's new 1.24 Million Dot White Magic LCD screen which claims a 50% reduction in power consumption.
Ricoh GR DIGITAL IV US 10 MP Digital Camera with 1x Optical Zoom and 3-Inch LCD screen (Black)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

On a Gloomy Day

On a Gloomy Day

Sharing a trio of images shot prior to a pending storm. I had a brief moment to get out today while running errands, and found three different subjects to compose. I chose the K20D for the tool to use, and set it up a black and white infrared filter/blue toning filter combination in camera. These images are direct from the camera. All were made with the 50-200mm f/4-f/5.6 WR telephoto lens with the same settings and display very different moods. Pentax K20D 14.6MP Digital SLR Camera with Shake Reduction (Body Only)

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Pentax K20D Review

Pentax K20D Review
October 2011, Carl Garrard 
Pentax K20D 14.6MP Digital SLR Camera with Shake Reduction (Body Only)Digital SLRs)

Pentax K20D Review: Introduction 
As the bargain outdoor/weather sealed camera hunt continues there's no way we can leave out Pentax's K20D DSLR. Today the K20D can be had for about what it will cost you for a new high end compact camera. Seems to me that if you are a photographer that likes to take your camera outdoors in weather, this is another no-brainer proposition when you consider that fact. At roughly $300-700 dollars used (in varying condition) the K20D is a STEAL at this price range.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Interpreting Raw Data From Studio Images

Interpreting Raw Data From Studio Images
October 2011, Carl Garrard
Adobe Photoshop Elements 9 (Win/Mac) [OLD VERSION]

Some of you may be considering one of the new Sony cameras using the 24mp sensor, and some of you have either seen or processed some of the available raw images. While others may not know what to think of all the back and forth comparisons and "warm" topic threads out there on the internet.

I started this thread to help those who may be confused by all this data and debates out there. I have just a few quick and simple things to say, truths that hold water you can count on. Besides that, I have experience using the new sensor on 3 different cameras and have used them in non studio settings that produce not only a more extreme range of light, but very uneven light as well. I've used them at all ISO's and evaluated as such.

Pentax K200D Review- Weatherproof DSLR Package Bargain!

Pentax K200D 10.2MP Digital SLR Camera with Shake Reduction (Body Only)Digital SLRs)


Pentax K200D Review- A Weatherproof DSLR Bargain!
September 2011, Carl Garrard
Got weather? Not much money? Like photography in the wild stuff but afraid to take your equipment? Just look left. How about a Pentax K200D and 18-55mm WR lens for under $500.00? Interesting isn't it? Don't believe me? I'm sorry, but it's true. Very recently I had the urgent need for a weather proof DSLR system again, and since I buy and sell a lot of cameras- I was simply "out" of a weatherproof option when I needed one badly. Not one to sit on my laurels it was time to get something quickly.

Friday, September 2, 2011

2011 Enthusiast Camera Review

2011 Enthusiast Camera Review
September 2011, Carl Garrard

Just a quick look back at all the new camera announcements so far this late Summer, starting in July of this year. Here are my initial impressions/rants based on features, timing, and overall value for the money. You're opinions of course may vary. Remember not to take this article too seriously, but read between the lines at the same time!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Canon SX230HS - Review and Shooters Report

CANON SX230HS Review
July 2011, Carl Garrard
For the life of me I don't recall the last time I wrote a review on a true point and shoot camera. I was compelled too with this Canon for several reasons that I'll outline in the review. Lately I've lacked a bit of motivation in reviewing cameras for two main reasons: Gear lust is a bad thing and photography is much more important to me. The other reason is quite frank: manufacturers are really producing way too many me-too cameras with similar features- they are almost clones of one another as is the output. Boring.

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Retro-Virus

I must have a bug. Hi, welcome to my first official soul bearing rant here on P-C.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Leica Digilux 2- Still A Contender (Updated 7-14-2011)

Leica Digilux 2 Review- Still A Contender
Leica 'Digilux 2' 5MP Digital Camera with 3.2x Optical ZoomPoint & Shoot Digital Cameras)

Ever a fan of rangefinders and rangefinder styled cameras, it was inevitable that I'd end up with the Leica Digilux 2- the sister camera to Panasonic's LC1 (to which I also have owned several samples). I've been on the hunt for one for a while now, but I've always felt the price too expensive when compared to the LC1. Both cameras hold incredible value and are still very expensive for the most part on the used market. Patience, they say, is a virtue. I tend to think patience is a decision- but that is beside the point.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Review- Sigma 18-50mm f2.8-4.5 DC OS HSM Lens

Review: Sigma 18-50mm f2.8-4.5 DC OS HSM
King Of The Budget Zooms?
May 2011, Carl Garrard
Sigma 18-50mm f/2.8-4.5 SLD Aspherical DC Optical Stabilized (OS) Lens with Hyper Sonic Motor (HSM) for Sony Digital SLR Cameras

Review: Always in search of a great lens deal for DSLR shooters, I stumbled upon a Sigma for the Alpha Mount that I had to write and tell everyone about. For those of you that don't know the price of this lens, that's perfect. For now we're going to talk about a relatively new lens from Sigma that has quite an impressive specification. And during the time you read this review ( you are reading, right?) I want you to estimate a price in your head of what you think this lens should retail for.