Sony DSC-RX1 Carl Zeiss 35mm f/2 Sonnar vs. Carl Zeiss 35mm f/2 Biogon ZM comparison review

The Sony DSC-RX1 ultra-premium compact full frame camera with Carl Zeiss 35mm f/2 Sonnar lens has received a lot of praise for its technical achievements. Not only is it the smallest camera in its class (it’s perhaps in a class of its own at the moment), but it also attains very high levels of image quality, comparable to what one can produce from full frame interchangeable lens systems.

The Sonnar lens is the purpose of this review. More specifically, an examination of how well it and the RX1 hold up against currently available Carl Zeiss 35mm ZM-series lenses on the Leica M9 full frame 18MP camera.

Why the ZM lenses and not the ZE/ZF lenses? For a couple reasons:

1) It has been stated by some that for the price of the RX1 and a few accessories, one comes into used M9 territory. This is more so the case now that Leica has released the ‘M’ and used M9 prices have dropped below $4,000. For ‘only’ another $1,000 or so, one can add a quality ZM lens to the M9 and benefit from an interchangeable lens system not much larger in size with more flexibility than the RX1. Both options are much smaller than currently available full frame DSLRs with Zeiss ZE/ZF lenses.

2) I happen to use the M9 and am curious about how well the RX1 compares, and have access to both ZM 35mm lenses. If time and opportunities permit, I may revisit this comparison with some additional Leica M-series lenses.

Click on the image at top or here to continue to the review.

Pelican 1440 roller case for Elinchrom Ranger Quadra kit

An Elinchrom Ranger Quadra transportation solution

Added to my TechTalk section:

As a follow-up to my extensive review of the original Elinchrom Ranger Quadra system, I thought I would share a storage and transportation option I’ve recently added for my Quadra kit: the Pelican 1440 roller case (link to B&H – also called the Pelican 1444 for the divider set configuration).

Click here or on the picture above to go to the full review.

Fast M-series 21mm lens shootout on Leica M9, NEX-7 and Ricoh GXR

Can the $1249 US Voigtlander Ultron Aspherical 21mm f/1.8 compare favorably to the $7000 US Leica Summilux-M 21mm f/1.4 ASPH.?

I’ve added an extensive write-up to the TechTalk section of this site comparing the following lenses:

Leica Summilux-M 21mm f/1.4 ASPH.
Voigtländer Ultron Aspherical 21mm f/1.8
Zeiss Biogon T* 21mm f/2.8 ZM
Leica Super-Elmar-M 21mm f/3.4 ASPH.

Click on the image above or on this link to proceed to the full review.

Sony NEX-5N with Zeiss, Voigtlander, Leica and Sony lenses

Just added several posts to the TechTalk section comparing various rangefinder lenses on the new Sony NEX-5N camera:

Sony NEX-5N with select ultra-wide rangefinder lenses – high-rez samples


There has been a lot of discussion about how well the new NEX cameras will work with wide and ultra-wide angle rangefinder lenses. Apparently the NEX-3 and 5 did not work well with many, resulting in color shifts and smearing in to the edges and corners.

Continue to see comparison photos of the Voigtlander Ultra Heliar 12mm f/5.6, Voigtlander Super Heliar 15mm f/4.5 and Zeiss ZM 21mm f/2.8 Biogon.

Click on photo above or here to continue to the article.


Sony NEX-5N with Voigtlander and Zeiss rangefinder lenses – part 2 – a couple 35mm options

To continue with the test of rangefinder lenses on the Sony NEX-5N, next up are two 35mm lenses, simply because these are two that I use on the Leica M9:

Zeiss ZM 35mm f/2.8 C-Biogon
Voigtlander Nokton 35mm f/1.2 Aspherical VM II

Click on photo above or here to continue to the article.


Sony NEX-5N with rangefinder lenses – part 3 – 50mm – Zeiss vs. Sony

The next installment of my NEX-5N test compares the Zeiss ZM 50 Planar against the Sony SEL 50mm f/1.8 lens for the NEX system.

Click on photo above or here to continue to the article.


Part four, to be posted, will examine samples from the Voigtlander Heliar Classic 75mm f/1.8 and the Leica Summarit-M 90mm f/2.5.

2010 Apple MacBook Air – good for photographers?

Apple 11

Finally, an Apple 11″ laptop, the 2010 MacBook Air redesign – something I have been waiting for many years to materialize.

What I always hoped for was an 11″ version of the 13″ MacBook or MacBook Pro (MBP) without an optical drive but with user accessible hard drive and RAM expansion. Looking at the 13″ design it was very obvious that a scaled down version would be possible, but it never happened.

Until now, sort of.

I guess my desired 11″ redesign of the basic MBP form wasn’t ambitious enough. Instead Apple did their logical thing and scaled down the essence of the previous MacBook Air (MBA), making it even smaller and lighter. Is this a bad thing? In my opinion, generally not. Apple obviously has a certain target market in mind for the MBA and there has been a fair amount of discussion in various user communities about the suitable applications of the MBA in relation to the MBP line. The question that often arises and is most relevant to my uses is whether the MBA is suitable for photographers. Now that’s a very wide spectrum of users because just as there are many niches in photography, there are many different types of users.

Please click here or on the photo above to read the complete article.

Canon EOS-1D Mark IV – brief review/impressions

Canon EOS-1D Mark IV - Hamilton Bulldogs vs. San Antonio Rampage

The Canon EOS-1D Mark IV has been out now for a couple months and received mine at the end of January. During that time there have been a number of online reviews that generally praise the camera, with the exception perhaps being Rob Galbraith’s opinion that the camera still falls short of where it should be.

I’ve added updates inline with my original review, and will continue to do so as I gain more experience with the camera. Here’s what I’ve found so far compared to the Mark III, which I’ve used since mid 2007: Review

And a few photos:

Hamilton Bulldogs vs. San Antonio Rampage AHL hockey. Shot from above with the 400 2.8 IS. I also tried the 400 at ice level and got some decent isolated action shots of various players, but the plexiglass definitely degraded image quality with such a long lens. The ice level images here are with the 135L and the 70-200 f/4L IS. Yeah, I wanted to see how viable it would be to use the f/4 lens, which I like a lot. I think it worked quite well. Had to bump ISO to 4000, but it held up well.

Canon EOS-1D Mark IV - Hamilton Bulldogs vs. San Antonio Rampage

Canon EOS-1D Mark IV - Hamilton Bulldogs vs. San Antonio Rampage

Canon EOS-1D Mark IV - Hamilton Bulldogs vs. San Antonio Rampage

Canon EOS-1D Mark IV - Hamilton Bulldogs vs. San Antonio Rampage