FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF THE NIKON Z7 & 24-70mm ƒ4 LENS

Monday: I stopped by World of photography and saw for the first time in person, the Nikon Z7.

Tuesday: I walked in with a D5 and walked out with the Z7 system.

I’m standing here holding the new Nikon Z7, and it feels great! A camera that I had no plans to own. I wasn’t expecting even to be able to see the camera till after Christmas. It’s widely sold out, with a waiting list at most major retailers. But here I am at my friend Gary’s shop, using it for the first time. It feels wonderful, just like a mini Nikon DSLR, the EVF is big and bright, sharp as a tack and the color is outstanding. I found myself coming back the next day and walking out with a Z7. The D5 is an incredible camera, but it’s big bulky and ill-suited for 98% of the work I do. The Z7 is small, light, fast and frankly almost as good as the D5. I’m not going to bury the lead here; the Nikon Z7 is very possibly the best mirrorless camera I have ever used.

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TOLEDO JEEP FEST 2018 & THE LEICA 28/ƒ5.6 SUMMARON M RERELEASE

This weekend, right in Jeeps hometown where the legend is created, was the Toledo Jeep Fest. Thousands of Jeeps show up for 3 days of celebration of all things Jeep. From the Friday night headliner (this year it was KC & The Sunshine Band) to the collectible and historic Jeep show at the Seagate center and the parade with over 1600 Jeeps.  The Toledo Jeep Fest is widely regarded as one of, if not the best, Jeep show in the nation. Saturday I got in my own Jeep, headed north and took the newly rereleased Leica 28/ƒ5.6 Summaron lens with the M10 along for the ride.

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The 35mm f/2.5 Voigtlander Color Skopar

The oddly and charmingly named (but what Voigtlander is not oddly and charmingly named) 35mm Color Skopar is among the smallest and lightest 35mm lenses you can get in Leica M mount.  At around $500 new, it is also one of the least expensive. It is an excellent choice for your 35mm lens whether or not price is a consideration.

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THE NIKKOR 20mm ƒ/2.8

Maya Shaman conducts rituals in the cemetery in Chichicastenango, Guatemala. Nikon D800, AF Nikkor 20mm f/2.8D

Go wide!  Go wider!!  Go as wide as you can without going too wide!!!  This is how I think about the 20mm lens and, to be specific, the classic 20mm f/2.8 Nikkor in both auto and manual focus.  In my long experience with this lens — I have used it in its MF and AF versions as one of my primary working optics since around 2000 — I have found it to be a special lens in particular and generally as wide an angle as one can get without entering the realm of special effects.  Lenses wider than 20mm can come in handy for unique perspectives and situations, but rarely for every day use.

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THE LEICA-M 90mm ƒ/4 ELMAR C

MONTERREY — I have shot tightly framed portraits of people since I began taking photos at age ten or eleven.  A certain style of naturalistic headshot, the subject fully aware and looking straight into the lens, has been a major element of my work for my entire photographic life.  I still have almost every negative I ever shot and though I hope I have learned a thing or two along the way, I am still rather happy with many of the portraits I took of my classmates, teachers, and family back in Junior High and High School.  

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THE LEICA CL, WOULD OSKAR BE PROUD?


Every year millions flock to comic stores all over the country for an event called Free Comic Day. During this event parents and kids of all ages can get offerings from their favorite publishers for free. Special comics produced just for this event. Sometimes leading to major events, and sometimes a self-contained story just for this issue. And every year there are fans who go all out, dressing as Batman or the Ghostbusters and driving from shop to shop taking photos with kids and sometimes even the parents. This year while photographing the event for Worlds Greatest Comics in Westerville Ohio, I brought along the Leica CL and the L-Mount 23mm ƒ2 Summicron lens. FCD is a packed event, where comic shops are full, wall to wall of people of all sizes and ages. This was a great high energy event to test out the compact APS-C system from Leica….

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GUEST COMMENTARY FROM ROBERT POOLE: THE V2 VOIGTLANDER 15MM ULTRA WIDE

Photo © R. Poole, published with permission

The beast in question is the Voigtlander 15mm Ultra wide and taming it is as hard work as it is fun. If you’ve ever shot an ultra wide you’ll know what I mean and this lens is no exception, in fact when coupled with a Leica M9 it becomes even more difficult.  Continue reading “GUEST COMMENTARY FROM ROBERT POOLE: THE V2 VOIGTLANDER 15MM ULTRA WIDE”

THE VOIGTLANDER 15MM F/4.5 SUPER-HELIAR V1

Sometimes you should listen to the voices in your head and sometimes you shouldn’t. Do not run with scissors in traffic. Do not befriend Nigerian royalty. Do not shave your head and climb that bell-tower. But if the voices are telling you to hang onto a particular lens, that someday you’ll figure out what it’s good for, and that someday you’ll figure out how to use it correctly, then listen.  Continue reading “THE VOIGTLANDER 15MM F/4.5 SUPER-HELIAR V1”

ZEISS PLANAR ZM 50mm ƒ/2

Highway heading into a storm on the Navajo Reservation, Northern Arizona, Leica M-P 240, Zeiss 50mm f/2 Planar ZM – Photo © Andrew Tonn 

When I bought a digital Leica I wanted a new lens to go with it.  There was no question that this lens would be 50mm.  I use other focal lengths (and have nothing against buying used optics) but, in this case, I wanted a new lens for the new camera.  When I bought a Leica M6ttl in 2001, I briefly used an antique 50mm f/2 Summar, but was soon able to acquire well-used 50mm f/2 Summicron from the 1970s.  I bought the Summar for $150 from an acquaintance and the second hand Summicron for $500 at the now sadly deceased F-Stop Camera in Akron, Ohio.  That lens has served me well but, when I decided to buy the digital M-P 240, the Summicron was in for repairs.  Anyway, I wanted a new lens for my new Leica and the M6 would be lonely and jealous if I confiscated its friend Summicron.  I like to maintain harmony in my stable of cameras after all. Continue reading “ZEISS PLANAR ZM 50mm ƒ/2”

NIKON LTM 35mm ƒ3.5 & 28mm ƒ3.5

The Nikon LTM glass, classic by any standard. But how good have they held up? This is what I set out to discover as I collected good examples of these lenses and got to work. Testing for the 35mm and 28mm was conducted on the Leica M9-Monochrome and Leica SL with Leica adaptors.  I was let down by the 50/f1.4, finding it to be very soft wide open and what’s the point in having fast glass if you can’t shoot it wide open?

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