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Flickr changes again, how to post images

Mar 26, 2014 - 7:04 AM - by Brian
Flickr must be like Sam's Club- as soon as you can find something, they move it. Maybe so you run through the store, trying to find what you want, and buy extra stuff? User interfaces should not be like this, and should not change without warning.

The new interface,

1) Click on the Share Photo, the rectangle with the arrow sticking out of it. Would make a good logo for a Russian camera lens.

2) Click on the "Bulletin Board Pin"

3) Click on the size image you want,

Get the generated script which is now an "HTTPS", secure.

You can edit this down, get rid of everything outside of the [ img ] [ / img] code, and can change it back to an "HTTP" if you want to, or use the original script unchanged.

8 Replies | 250 Views

Featured: 'Girl & Dog' by Christilou

Feb 17, 2014 - 5:19 PM - by Christilou

Girl & Dog by christilou1, on Flickr

Crop from the M with 25mm Zeiss Biogon
9 Replies | 589 Views

Some Thoughts About the Sony A7R as a Leica M Replacement

Dec 22, 2013 - 8:44 PM - by Amin Sabet
I've been shooting a loaner Sony A7R alongside a Leica M (240) for a couple days and figured it was time to share some early impressions. I'll keep this thread updated over time with more thoughts and observations.

Here are the two bodies side by side, the Sony shown with the Novoflex adapter I've been using:

P1010002 by Amin Sabet, on Flickr

As you can see, the Sony is a good bit smaller than the Leica, although the grip and viewfinder together make it a bit thicker. It's also a fair amount lighter. The Leica exudes quality, the Sony less so, but both feel well made. My main issues with the Sony build involve the plastic doors covering the card slot, battery, and especially the mini USB charging port. Of note, the A7R follows Sony's recent practice of not including a dedicated battery charger. The battery charges in the camera. Tastes will vary, but the Leica is far better looking to me. The orange metallic ring marked "35mm FULL-FRAME CMOS IMAGE SENSOR" is a particular eye sore on the Sony.

On the top of the camera, the main difference is that the Leica has a shutter speed dial, while the Sony has an exposure compensation dial. As someone who shoots mostly with aperture priority autoexposure, the exposure comp dial is more useful to me. Since configuring the Sony to assign my most commonly used settings to the dual control dials and custom buttons, there has been no need to enter the menu system other than to format the SD card. Both cameras have built-in thumb grips, but the Sony lacks threading for a cable release / soft release. Importantly (to me), both cameras lack in-body image stabilization, a feature I've come to appreciate with my Olympus Micro Four Thirds bodies.

The biggest difference in use is that the Sony isn't a rangefinder camera. For some, this is a deal breaker. Not to me. The Sony electronic viewfinder (EVF) is excellent, and I find that I can focus even the f/0.95 Noctilux accurately without even making use of the focus aids, which include focus peaking and magnification. The EVF is high resolution, and I can see a subtle shimmer at he point of focus. Nevertheless, I keep focus peaking assigned to a custom button (useful for seeing a graphical representation of zone focus/depth of field) and magnification assigned to a different custom button (useful for critically accurate focus with static subjects). Another key difference from a standpoint of seeing the subject is that the Sony rear LCD tilts up/down (Leica LCD is fixed), and the Sony rear LCD is higher resolution. The Leica has an accessory port and the ability to use an optional EVF.

The Novoflex adapter I used performed very well. No complaints. However, one of the advantages of using the Sony with Leica M lenses is that you can choose to use a close focus adapter (Hawk's or Voigtlander), which gives you the option to shorten minimal focus distance on the fly by increasing the distance from the lens to the sensor.

In use, I found the Sony comfortable to hold, and the Leica M lenses all felt natural in use. The Leica M shutter sound is wonderfully muted. By comparison, the Sony is very loud. However, I don't find the Sony shutter sound to be grating at all. It's more subtle than a Nikon FM2N shutter release. It also seems a decent tradeoff for the 1/8000s shutter speed capability of the A7R, which coupled with a base ISO of 100 allows one to shoot fast lenses wide open without an ND filter in all but the brightest of light.

So how well does the A7R work with Leica M lenses? Does it deliver the goods? The answer depends on your use case, and the particular lenses you choose. I had no problems whatsoever using the 50/0.95 Noctilux for photos of my 11-week-old daughter:

DSC00029 by ... [Read More]
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39 Replies | 37,012 Views

Sony A7R In Stock with Limited Quantity at B&H

Dec 13, 2013 - 10:32 AM - by Amin Sabet
I have one of these shipping out today for review with Novoflex adapter to use with M mount lenses. Anyone else planning to buy this or A7?

Direct link:

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10 Replies | 929 Views

Raw Mode on the Leica M8- Uncompressed DNG uncovered and Tools available at

Nov 16, 2013 - 10:56 AM - by Brian

Too Cool For Words...

A website set up to support Raw mode on the Leica M8. Firmware for the M8 supports compressed DNG only, meaning the 14-bit data (0:16383) is compressed to 8-bits (0:255) using a square root function. A lot of quantization goes on. The M9 has compressed and uncompressed DNG, the M Monochrom has uncompressed only.

Check the above site on how to unlock uncompressed raw mode on the M8, and download utilities to convert the Raw format to DNG.

I have not done an extensive side-by-side test of the uncompressed vs compressed DNG files, but a quick look at the Histograms show a smooth intensity distribution.
22 Replies | 3,627 Views

Leica C Typ 112 based on Panasonic LF1

Sep 09, 2013 - 4:26 AM - by dalethorn
I was able to pre-order the new Leica C Typ 112 from Dale Photo today, which is going to be a fun little adventure (very little, size-wise, as you can put 2 of these into one shirt pocket). I did a compare some weeks ago and discovered that the D-Lux6 lens has much better integrity around the edges than the LF1 lens (the new C Typ 112 is Leica's version of the LF1). I was not able to compare the LX7 (same as D-Lux6) directly to the D-Lux6, so this will be the first instance where I can directly compare a Leica (C Typ 112) to the Panasonic version (LF1), to see if Leica improves on the lens spec or QC in any respect.
Leica Monochrom/Noctilux, Panasonic GM1, Leica D-Lux6 (G-Star ed.), Leica C-Typ-112.
12 Replies | 2,283 Views

Leica D-Lux6 G-Star Raw edition digital camera review

Aug 13, 2013 - 2:03 PM - by dalethorn
Notes: This review covers my use of the new Leica G-Star Raw edition camera for general-purpose photography, shooting JPEG format images only. The G-Star camera is in fact the Leica D-Lux6, with a special edition finish and additional accessories not included in the D-Lux6 package. It's generally known that Panasonic produces the D-Lux6 as a variant of its own LX7 camera, but whether Panasonic makes the complete D-Lux6 package in its own production facility or sends the mostly-completed units to Leica for finishing touches is not clear, and will probably always be in flux depending on whether Leica's finalizing of each unit requires transfer to a Leica facility or not. Whatever the case, Leica's demand on Panasonic for the LX7 is only to certify the Leica lens that goes into each of the Panasonic cameras, whereas Leica requires adherence to Leica specifications for the entire D-Lux6 camera and its special editions.

Having owned both Leica cameras and Panasonic cameras with Leica lenses, I have a pretty good idea of what the differences are between Lenses made by Leica for the 'M' series cameras and Leica lenses made by Panasonic. My impression (just that - I don't have insider secrets on these things) of most of the Panasonic Leica lenses for regular consumer cameras like the TZ5, ZS7 etc. is that they're a fairly economical lens meeting minimum Leica requirements for those cameras. On the other hand, the Leica lenses Panasonic has made for the "Enthusiast Compact" cameras like the LX3, LX5 and LX7 are more professional from what I've surmised, and the remarkable f1.4 Summilux lens that's part of the D-Lux6 series is one of those more professional lenses, and is a big step up from the lenses that come with the lower priced cameras.

Since the G-Star Raw camera costs approximately $390 USD more than the D-Lux6, and the camera itself is the same except for the finish, some customers might find the price a bit shocking. Actually, the larger part of that difference is in the extras: The standard no.18727 carrycase for the D-Lux6 is $160, and so the similar G-Star edition case with the custom appointments has at least that value. The very heavy-duty wrist strap sells for $70 in the standard edition, and the extra neck strap in G-Star style would sell for about $90 separately. I feel comfortable paying the remaining $70 for the special edition camera, partly because the finish is the best thing I've seen since my brief time with a Leica Safari edition camera 25 years ago, and partly because of the collectible value. I should mention as well that Leica cameras, particularly the 'M' series and special editions, tend to have a very high resale value. It will be interesting to see how the G-Star edition fares in that regard.

The G-Star Raw lens is a Leica 'Summilux' design with 135-effective focal lengths ranging from 24 to 90 mm. Most importantly, the widest aperture is f1.4 at 24 mm, and f2.3 at the 90 mm focal length. Much mention is made these days about improved sensors for low-light shooting, but there's no substitute for good glass, and the G-Star's lens is probably the best available in a camera this size. Zooming is available the normal way with a stepless (smooth) action, and using a camera setting you can step from 24 to 28, 35, 50, 70, and 90 mm. The lens cap is a separate piece and comes with a lens-cap "string" that can attach it to the camera body so it doesn't get lost. I've seen complaints about this lens cap design, but I like it and don't find it particularly inconvenient.

One of the great features of the G-Star Raw is the aspect selector switch on top of the lens barrel. What's important here is that the G-Star doesn't just chop off the top and bottom of the image when changing from the 4x3 to 3x2 format - it maintains the same angle of view. The G-Star uses 10 megapixels (mp) with 4x3 aspect and slightly less in 3x2 and 16x9, but the wider aspects also use more pixels on the wider dimension since the sensor captures nearly 13 mp total. Almost needless to say, this requires a visual chart to explain - just google the words Leica Multi-Aspect Sensor. On the side of the lens barrel is the selector for Manual, Auto, and Macro focus. Macro focus goes down to one(1) centimeter, but when getting that close to a subject, the large lens is blocking much of the direct light, which might require a wider aperture resulting in a shallow depth of field (DOF). It may be necessary in such a case to put additional light on the macro subject, or shoot from a tripod.

The G-Star Raw has a video button on the top panel at the right side, which I've seen described as redundant since there's a video (motion picture) selection on the mode dial. It's not redundant. Until those separate buttons became common on digital cameras, I lost important beginning seconds in many video opportunities because the mode dial was set (usually) to Program mode.... [Read More]
Leica Monochrom/Noctilux, Panasonic GM1, Leica D-Lux6 (G-Star ed.), Leica C-Typ-112.
7 Replies | 1,950 Views

Leica X Vario review by Dale

Jul 31, 2013 - 2:25 AM - by dalethorn
Notes: This review covers my use of the new Leica X Vario camera for general-purpose photography, shooting JPEG format images only. I have owned the Leica M4-2 and M6 film cameras, with a 50mm fixed lens for the former and a 35mm fixed lens for the latter. I purchased the Leica X1 compact camera in early 2010, and used it for nearly 3 years before donating it to a photo club in Ohio. The X Vario is similar in many ways to the X1, given that both are digital cameras made in-house by Leica in Germany. There is also much resemblance between the X Vario and the 'M' film cameras in their heavy-duty construction, and the large heavy lens assembly of the X Vario in particular. The X1 by comparison has a fairly small lens assembly that pops out when the camera is switched on and collapses when the camera is switched off.

Since the X Vario costs $2850 USD and is a simple camera with a short zoom range lens (28mm to 70mm in 135 equivalence), people who are not familiar with Leica or their raison d'etre might find the price shocking. Looking at this from a Leica owner's perspective, the next step up from the X Vario is the M9, which costs about $12000 to $13000 for camera with similar lens, and the next step up from that is the S2, which sells for approx. $30000 without lens. If you were thinking to buy one of these Leica cameras made in-house by Leica in Germany, based on its specifications as compared to other popular brands such as Fuji, Nikon, or Ricoh et al, then you would probably not want to consider the Leica any further because of the large price difference for comparable specifications. If you are familiar with the Leica brand and what they offer compared to other cameras having similar capabilities, then this review might be helpful since I won't be speculating on the reasons for those differences.

I'm currently building a set of images for the X Vario at my dalethorn website, so check there occasionally to see what sort of results I'm getting with this camera. I made some initial comparisons to the Nikon Coolpix A, another APS-C camera with a high quality lens (and fairly high price), and viewing the images at 100 percent size on the screen, I note a slight advantage for the X Vario. This is especially good news, since the Nikon has only one focal length and the X Vario has to maintain that quality across the entire zoom range. I made a few comparisons to images I captured with the Leica X1, and the X Vario shows a slight improvement over those as well. Since the X Vario is much larger than the X1, it has the disadvantage (at this time) of not having a dressy camera case available such as the 18709 case for the X1. On the other hand, it's much easier than the X1 to hold and operate with my large hands.

Removing the X Vario from its packaging, any concerns I might have had about the build quality or design evaporated instantly. It reminded me of the 'M' cameras much more than the X1, although on closer inspection some of the similarities to the X1 become apparent. I liked the X1 pretty well, but I thought it was near the lower limits of what I considered to be a good value for $2000. I have no such concerns about the X Vario - in fact, I feel quite lucky to be able to get this much of the 'M' camera look and feel (and build quality) for what I paid. I'm tempted to say that it's almost a steal at that price, but then I get the idea that Leica has done some research and found ways to produce this camera in sufficient quantity to keep the price down. Again, if you're not a collector or long-time user of Leica cameras, most of this price/value discussion will not make much sense.

There were a set of videos released by Leica at the introduction of the S1, M9, and X1 circa September 2009, which detailed Leica's development and marketing plans for their full lineup of cameras going forward from that date. I would recommend those for anyone who wants to know more about the company and its products, and why they command the prices they do. Those videos should be available on Youtube et al, and they should provide some background that will make the X Vario design and Leica's other designs more understandable.

Some photographers will buy their cameras based on a specific need or task they have to perform, others will purchase cameras based on getting a state-of-the-art design that they feel they can grow into, so they don't outgrow the camera immediately, and some users will buy cameras based on a combination of factors - how it looks, feels, and operates, etc. I bought the X Vario because I didn't have a Leica camera at the time, and with just the S2, M9, and X2 available, none of those had enough appeal to me to justify the expense. The X Vario was the perfect simple (but very high quality) camera for me at just the right time, offering manual and automatic features, a usable zoom/focal length range, and the perfect look and feel for... [Read More]
Leica Monochrom/Noctilux, Panasonic GM1, Leica D-Lux6 (G-Star ed.), Leica C-Typ-112.
5 Replies | 2,555 Views

Nikkor-SC 5cm F1.5, The lens that brought attention to the Japanese Camera Industry

Jun 11, 2013 - 4:32 PM - by Brian
I believe this is more than anyone else has written about this lens. I've looked for one of these for 20 years, after reading the March 1991 Pop Photo article on "How the West was Won". This is some history of the Nikkor-SC 5cm, F1.5, and a comparison with a "true" Zeiss 5cm F1.5 Sonnar "T" made in 1943.

The year is 1950, David Douglas Duncan is in Korea making unforgettable images of an almost forgotten war. “This is War” captures, in Duncan’s own words, “what a man endures when his country decides to go to war.” The photojournalism of Duncan, Carl Mydans, Horace Bristol, Hank Walker, and Chas Rosecrans brings the war home to the American public, and pressure is generated to end it. Dwight Eisenhower adds a promise to his campaign for President to bring an end to the Korean War, and fulfills that promise when elected. Duncan’s photograph of Capt Ike Fenton, USMC, is regarded as one of the best portraits ever made.

(Capt Ike Fenton by David Douglas Duncan, Nikkor 5cm F1.5 wide-open)

(Korea by David Douglas Duncan, Nikkor 5cm F1.5 wide-open)

Duncan’s photography also introduced the world to high quality Japanese lenses. Duncan used a Nikkor-SC 5cm F1.5 and Nikkor-QC 13.5cm F4 on his Leica IIIc for most of his photographs taken in Korea. Other photographers took note of the quality of Duncan’s images, and several started shooting with Nikkor lenses. Hank Walker started using a Nikon camera along with Nikkor lenses in Korea. Word spread about the quality of the Nikkor lenses, and in the December 10, 1950 issue of the New York Times broke the story.

“The first postwar camera to attract serious attention in America has causes a sensation among magazine and press photographers following the report by Life magazine photographers in Korea that a Japanese 35mm camera and its lenses had proven superior to the German cameras they had been using. The lenses, which include a full range of focal lengths, give a higher accuracy rating than lenses available for German miniatures.”

The Times also reported statements by well-respected camera experts Marty Forscher and Mitch Bogdanovitch regarding the Nikon camera and lenses. Bogdanovitch wrote of the Nikkor lenses “The lenses are of excellent color correction and perform better at full apertures than do Zeiss lenses.” Dr. Karl Bauer, President of Carl Zeiss, Inc. USA, was furious with the Times and threatened to drop all advertising with the paper. The Times allowed Zeiss to run a statement that the “Zeiss lenses being tested were not true Zeiss lenses.”

The Nikkor-SC 5cm F1.5 placed a world-wide spotlight on the post-war Japanese camera industry and started a competition between the German and Japanese camera industries that would rage on for decades. Yet, it is one of the least known of any of the Nikkor lenses ever made. Two batches of lenses were produced, the “905” batch was ordered in May 1949 and the “907” batch was ordered in July 1949. Fewer than 800 lenses were made, about 300 in Leica mount and 500 in S-Mount. The F1.5 lens was soon replaced by the Nikkor-SC 5cm F1.4, which was introduced in May, 1950. Production of the 5cm F1.4 lens is in the 100,000 range.

The question begs- “Why develop an F1.5 lens and an F1.4 lens within a year of each other?” Peter Dechert’s excellent book “Canon Rangefinder Cameras” provides the answer. Nikon developed the 5cm F1.5 in 1937 for use on the Hansa Canon. A few were made, some possibly used on an X-Ray camera. After the war, Nikon needed a super-speed lens to compete with Zeiss and Leitz, the 5cm F1.5 lens had already been designed. The type of glass used is critical to the fundamental design of any lens, perhaps Nikon had a small supply of the glass that was the basis of the F1.5 lens. The exact answers are lost to the ages. Bob Rotoloni’s book “Nikon Rangefinder Camera”, 1983 writes “The Nikkor-S 5cm F1.5 is one of the least known RF Nikkors ever produced.” “Obviously designed to compete with the famous Zeiss Sonnar F1.5, it’s optical formula is unknown, but may be similar to the Zeiss lens.”

The Nikkor-SC 5cm F1.5 is a Sonnar family lens, 7 elements in 3 groups. Some authors have stated it is a “copy” of a Zeiss Sonnar. The Nikkor lens is made to the Leica 51.6mm focal length standard, and is constructed using different optical glass than
... [Read More]
12 Replies | 5,700 Views

Leica X Vario Digital Camera available for pre-order at B&H

Jun 11, 2013 - 1:56 PM - by Ray Sachs
The Leica X Vario Digital Camera is now available for pre-order at B&H:

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3 Replies | 1,040 Views

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