The Canon FTb SLR: My new camera (from 1971)

Wish you could afford one of those amazing full-frame mirrorless cameras with a fast, juicy lens? You know what I’m talking about. Yeah. The Sony a7R III. Compact, easy to transport. Big, lush sensor. Creamy glass. Quick operation. Improved battery life. That’s the dream, right?

But… It’s expensive. Too pricy for you and me. Right? Maybe not.

On a recent episode of the Accidental Tech Podcast, co-host Marco Arment was talking about the Sony a7R III he had recently purchased, and was rightfully gushing about its performance and the beautiful images it made. He went on to explain how this kind of camera is prohibitively expensive. Continue reading The Canon FTb SLR: My new camera (from 1971)

Hands-on Review of the Canon 7D Mark II

There are lots of reviews of the Canon 7D Mark II¬†that lean heavily into its specs, but that’s not what you’ll find here. I shoot photos and videos primarily to indulge my interests. It’s a hobby, and I make purchases largely based on emotion. These are the primary forces that drove¬†me to buy¬†this beefy camera.

After years of looking at images from other photographers, I found that always appreciated and desired the punchiness of photos shot with pro-level Canon DSLRs, Canon L-series lenses, and high-end Canon flashes. I wanted to use these creative tools myself, so I grabbed them. Continue reading Hands-on Review of the Canon 7D Mark II

Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera vs. Panasonic GH3

Today at NAB 2013, Blackmagic Design shocked the production world the second year in a row with the announcement of their new Pocket Cinema Camera. It packs much of the same punch as last year’s groundbreaking Blackmagic Cinema Camera, in a more compact form factor‚ÄĒat one third of the price.

Continue reading Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera vs. Panasonic GH3

A Few Days with the Fuji X100

Fujifilm X100I recently had the chance to give the new Fuji X100 a short test drive.¬†This is a modern digital camera that’s designed to look like a classic Leica rangefinder (or a current Leica M9). I have to say that the overall vibe is very nice, and quite a radical change from the Panasonic Lumix GH2 I’m used to using. It feels well made, yet light enough to carry everywhere without a hint of burdon.

The first thing I did was strap the X100 around my neck, and man did I look good! You wear this thing like jewelry. It’s photo-nerd bling. Looking sharp, I walked toward the Hudson River to catch some nice sunset shots, but when I reached 11th Avenue a dark butt was waiting for me above the Jacob Javits Center. Big drops started pounding down, so I ran for shelter under scaffolding. Then the sky really opened up. At first being marooned in that spot was gray and boring looking, and the light was terrible. But a few minutes later it transformed into an awesome place to shoot.

I didn’t know the first thing about the X100, I just turned it on and started shooting. Continue reading A Few Days with the Fuji X100

My First Week with the Panasonic GH2

Panasonic GH2 with 20mm f/1.7 lensAfter a long and truly painful wait to receive my first “HDSLR” camera, my Panasonic Lumix GH2 finally arrived. I had waited for several months to order it from a specific retailer, and once my pre-order was placed, the GH2 was on backorder for six more weeks. But last Friday, like a waking dream, it arrived at my doorstep.

As you can see in the thumbnail photo above, I also bought the Lumix 20mm pancake lens. The two make a powerful combination. With the pancake, the GH2 is almost as small as a corpulent point & shoot camera, but it does a whole lot more than even the finest point & shoot cameras on the market. The GH2 has a monster micro four thirds sensor, the lens mount can be adapted to pretty much any lens on the planet, and its HD video quality is currently considered the best you can get (that’s right, it’s even better than the¬†mammoth 5D mk II).

Continue reading My First Week with the Panasonic GH2

How Good is a $250 HD Camera with 24p?

When I was putting together my list of gift ideas for video nerds,¬†I stumbled upon the¬†Canon Vixia HF R100, and¬†was totally amazed at the price of this thing. But my jaw didn’t really hit my toes until I read about its extensive audio capabilities. For $250 you get a full-blown camcorder that shoots 1080i HD video at 24p, has an external mic input and a headphone output. Then I discovered it had manual audio control of both the external or the built-in mics. Now I was envious in addition to being amazed! I decided to go see what this camera felt like in my hands, and to try out its manual audio control functions. I walked away impressed, and I think I grumbled something under my breath as I passed the HDSLRs on my way out. Continue reading How Good is a $250 HD Camera with 24p?