To say that the last few years have been politically challenging would be a huge understatement not just where I happen to live, but globally. Unfortunately, where I live happens to have proven to be impotent in its ability to see off these horrible setbacks and struggle to lead globally where we’ve been able to do in times past, which has been hugely disheartening. To see the emboldening of a cynical, outdated and remarkably limited outlook on the past, present and future through the ugliest forms of the abuses of power, racism, sexism and classism has offered a bleak vision for the future, and has laid the roadmap for the political fight that must come. I’ve never liked to combine politics with my livelihood, as I’ve always tried to see myself as one to look to the many sides and experiences in this great human experiment, but I do feel we’ve gone so far past the idea of politics and have crashed head first into a fundamental place of human rights and the struggle for simple decency.
While Panasonic seemingly focuses on video featured GH cameras along with their new full frame platform, and Olympus hopes pros jump to its EM1X, I’m over here enjoying my now aged, and in my mind legendarily ‘just right’ Goldilocks GX8 with some new glass. I’ve long blown the horn for Sigma’s full frame optics, providing industry leading optical performance at honest, realistic prices (every one of the half dozen lenses I’ve tested/reviewed and/or purchased over the last few years have been wonderful), I started to wonder why I’d not tried out their crop frame offerings. Well, I have now, and I don’t know why I’m surprised, but the Sigma 56mm f/1.4 DC DN Contemporary lens is another absolute gem.
I’m using the micro 4/3 mount option, which crops to a 112mm equivalent focal length, putting it right in that mid tele, portrait sweet spot between the traditional 85mm and 135mm focal lengths. For the APS-C lot, this lens falls right into the more standard short tele ~85mm slot, which will certainly appeal to many (as it absolutely should). I for one like the extra cropping as it starts to compete with my long standing, and stellar Olympus 75mm f/1.8 lens for time on the camera when portraits or more isolated subjects, with bokehfied backgrounds come calling.
Weather sealed at the mount, compact, lightweight, fast and sharp as a tack, this lens is one I feel many system shooters can find great value in. C’mon in to see my take…
Shameless self plug alert, but my kids gotta eat, and I’m also very proud of these. ***Nauti Straps has a new colorway available in 3 different straps. The new mottled Forest Flora blends light and dark greens along with a clay beige to put a pop in your camera fashion for the summer months. Mimicking the dappled light through a forest canopy, Forest Flora blends into nature, or compliments more monochromatic backdrops. Available in the Regatta and Wayfarer shoulder straps, along with the Cascade wrist strap, it’s a new look for the three popular strap designs. As always, every Nauti Strap is 100% hand built to the highest standard (by moi) using high end sail racing line designed for open ocean races under the harshest conditions.
The Nauti Straps Wayfarer (see HERE)
A fully adjustable rope strap enabling a longer, looser throw for the cross body sling, or a tighter, closer length to keep it from bouncing off your belt when over your neck. Available in 8 different colors, this design came from a desire to have a nice rope strap that didn’t have to be built in various lengths for different needs or body sizes. One size fits all, and can be adjusted between 32″-55″ (81-140cm) long. Held by nonslip O rings, and fastened by stainless steel quick release clasps, the Wayfarer is a great strap when needing versatility and comfort while looking slick. Having a double strap at your neck also helps distribute weight better than a single rope strap. Available in 8 different colors.
The Nauti Straps Cascade (see HERE)
Our most popular wrist strap has a new look as well. The secure and adjustable Cascade wrist strap is fastened to the camera via a 170lb test, steel split ring and is fully adjustable to fit any sized wrist with ample room to operate the camera. Strong nylon, dyneema and high tenacity poly dual braid line, finished with hand spliced and whipped ends makes this, quite possibly, the strongest rope wrist strap in existence. It feels and looks good too. Available in 7 different colors…
The Nauti Straps Regatta (see HERE)
Are you more of a traditionalist? The Regatta shoulder strap uses the same high end rope, and keeps it simple in design. A straight 46″ (117cm) non adjustable, hand built rope strap attaches to the camera via two stainless steel quick release clasps. A stylish and elegant rope strap while out and about. Available in 10 different colors, the Regatta suits most any shooter’s style.
I handbuild each and every strap I sell, and I’ve extensively used and refined each and every design to provide both a practical, and comfortable option in the strap game. I guarantee these straps will last, and have now been building and selling them for over 7 years now. You can read what others have to say via the reviews at Nautistraps.com if you don’t want to take my word for it.
I hope everyone in the Northern hemisphere is enjoying the summer months, and for our friends in the south, here’s to hoping the winter solstice has found you well, and know that your days are now getting longer. Drop a comment to let us know where you shoot and reside, and if you’re a Nauti Strap user, let us know how it suits you.
Happy shooting and all the best,
I’ve just passed the 9th anniversary of this particular blog, and about the 12th overall of me rambling on about camera gear, software and photographic technique online, and as Ladies Love Cool James once eluded to, I have seemingly come full circle. I’ve waded through and swam in many different pools. Technology has made some pretty exciting leaps over this time. After years with a few EOS bodies, I then got excited with the advent of mirrorless as an early adopter in Panasonic, then Olympus, Pentax, Sony, even GoPro while dabbling in various film formats with my 35mm and medium format cameras, and now for the first time in about 6 years, I’ve purchased a Canon branded product again. At first, I feared I’d made a horrible mistake, but as I’ve now had this camera for the last few months, I’m starting to come around to what it does offer me, and I think I may finally get rid of my Sony full frame gear.
C’mon in for my thoughts, why and where I feel its worth while, and where I foresee Canon going with this format.
Camera tech is a fascinating thing. What will companies provide us as customers, in hopes of luring us into their systems? I mentioned in my previous article that I’d been awaiting announcements on the update to Sony’s full frame mirrorless cameras before deciding on my own upgrade path, and chose to jump on the discounted a7RII deal as an update to my longstanding a7II.
My main interests were gaining an upgrade to image file quality in resolution, dynamic range and then overall performance upticks on the hardware side of things.
After a few months with the R, here is what I’ve found out…
I’ve long used my Canon Pixma Pro-9000 printer for my home printing needs which I got via a similar rebate when buying my long absent 5D many moons ago, and after about 10 years of use, I jumped on the Pro-100 rebate which is essentially an upgraded Pro-9000 with wireless printing capabilities. Canon has a history of nearly giving their large media printers away when you purchase new cameras, but I’ve not seen this rebate before. This time around, if you “purchase” a substantially discounted 50 pack of 13×19″ Canon Photo Paper Pro Luster (normally $75) for $0, you get the printer (normally $379) for $130 after a $250 mail in rebate (click here to see at B&H) along with the 13×19″ photo paper 50 pack. Considering that to purchase all 8 ink cartridges for this (or just about any higher end photo printer) is $125, you’re basically getting a printer and 50 sheets of 13×19″ paper for $5, while “buying” the ink which is also included in the purchase. Well, the ink is always where they get you, and that doesn’t change regardless of how much you pay for a printer, but in this case, I bit after doing a little research on this Pro-100. C’mon in for links to all the rebate info, which runs through a purchase by date of December 31st this year, and see some prints which I just ran through both the Pro-100 and Pro-9000 printers for comparison’s sake. I’m pretty damn impressed…
It has been a pretty long time since I’ve purchased a new camera body, which is somewhat surprising to me considering the amount of rambling on about gear I do around here. I’ve pretty much abandoned the idea of upgrading my Canon full frame body as they’ve been so far behind the curve for me in offering a realistic upgrade in spec and performance for the ever increasing cost, that I’ve just decided to hold onto my legendarily ancient 5DmkII as a full frame backup. The 5DmkIII and mkIV are both solid cameras. I just never saw the asking price as justified when my 5DmkII still compared favorably, spec wise for my shooting. When investing in a new camera body, (which hopefully is never out of physical necessity) I want something new, or seriously upgraded to provide me with a new tool, not just an expensive, shiny version of what I’ve already got. I’ve long been waiting for a new Panasonic GXx model to be announced, as well as waiting to see what Sony would do with an a7III. When Sony recently announced the new a7RIII (see here at B&H), I realized I’d be waiting for a while longer yet to see what they’d be offering in their more budget friendly a7 series upgrade, and seeing what they’re doing to the “R” line, it seems a fairly linear upgrade mostly geared to speed and video, neither of which I’m horribly in need of upgrading. Don’t get me wrong, I think the proposed claim of 15 stops of dynamic range and the ability to shoot 10fps with AF and AE capabilities at 42mp is certainly notable, it’s just a hard sell for me, considering it’s going to be launched for nearly a thousand dollars more than its predecessor is going for with the current rebates. (I can use that near grand toward a GX9 *cough* c’mon Panasonic *cough*)
Be warned, this article is merely me justifying my purchase to myself. It may read as if I’m a little crazy, talking in sporadic, half baked thoughts as I convince myself of this purchase. It’s a good exercise I find, and one that through it, may benefit others who may be in a similar position, so I hope it will aid any of us looking at the recent Sony fire sale in that way.
This led me to the new rebates on the a7RII, which has, since its launch long been (literally, it’s almost 2.5 years old!) one of, and for a long while THE highest performing sensor on the market, only recently displaced by the new Nikon D850 sensor, which was then quickly usurped by the new medium format Hasselblad X1D-50c sensor which may even be leapfrogged by the new a7RIII once all the testing is done. That’s saying something considering that many other full frame (and Medium Format!) cameras have been released in that time frame. I’ve been both a fan and critic of my Sony a7II over the last few years, and if you’re a Sony fanboy and new to this site, be warned as I will have some constructively critical things to say, but I’ve decided to stick with them for at least one more (personal) upgrade cycle, and here’s why…
Believe it or not, I’m still attempting to actively write, and after a very hectic year, I’m getting back into the game, kinda. This article all started indirectly during the total solar eclipse this year. A friend who also shoots micro 4/3 and I got to talking about lenses we like for the system. We were taking turns using my adapted Sigma 150-600mm through a solar filter to snap shots of the celestial event, and we got to talking about the Voigtländer offerings. I, having been the proud owner of the 42.5mm Nokton (review on that bad boy HERE), was excited to find out my friend was toting the 17.5mm version around with him. Well, I’ll spare you the minutiae of the back and forth, but we decided to do a lens swap for a month or so, and here we are. C’mon in for some touchy, feely bits on my time with the Voigtländer Nokton 17.5mm f/0.95 lens…
Remember my portrait lens shoot out? Well, it caught the eye of the folks over at Olympus Passion Magazine as they’d previously featured my article testing the Leica 15mm against the Panasonic pancake 14 and 20mm lenses on their website, and had asked to feature the portrait shoot out in the August edition of the magazine. I happily obliged, and it can now be seen in the current issue of their beautifully curated, Olympus-centric mag HERE.
Remember that really cool feeling of camping out in the dark room, focusing and projecting your image onto photo sensitive paper? Watching your creation materialize before your eyes in the developer as you lightly rocked the chemicals back and forth, only to see your final image come to life for the first time? I do. It’s what sparked my love affair with photography, and if you never got to experience that, I think you should try to find a local community college or community space that still has enlargers, and give it a try. Now, fast forward… Do you remember me telling you about Digital Silver Imaging and their unique, digital silver gelatin printing process? To quickly summarize, DSI (find them here) has a process that takes your digital files, and exposes them like a negative, onto photo sensitive paper, and develops them in photo chemistry producing a beautiful, museum quality, archival print. The beauty and depth of a digital file, with the organic analog feeling of a silver gelatin print, is a very cool, very harmonious and nostalgic thing. Well, I’ve been back in contact with those fine folks, and after some delightful conversation surrounding the next step in actual mounting of said beautiful prints, this is what came back to me…