TechTalk

TechTalk is a sub-site focused on sharing some of my photography experience with a more technically inclined audience. I love to ‘talk shop’ and below are introductions and links to equipment reviews over at TechTalk.

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New Zeiss Distagon 35/1.4 ZM lens preview

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Leica M (Typ 240) rolling review

In February 2014, after about three years shooting with the Leica M9, I added the new M (Typ 240), also called M240, to my Leica kit.

I’ve created a page, linked here and at the right side, to serve as a rolling review where I can share my thoughts about the M240 in general, and compared to the M9.

Click the image above, or here for the Leica M (Typ 240) rolling review.

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Sony a7R vs. Leica M9 infinity test with 20+ Leica, Zeiss, Voigtlander rangefinder lenses

As a follow-up to my overwhelmingly popular October 2013 infinity test with a preproduction Sony a7 and various rangefinder lenses, here’s the infinity shootout I really wanted to do back then… between a regular production Sony a7R and Leica M9, with a similar, though not identical, collection of a couple dozen mostly rangefinder lenses… Unfortunately, this time I’m not one of the first in the world with the results! Please refer to the a7 shootout for an explanation why infinity focus is such a ‘torture test’ for these lenses and cameras.

Click on the photo above to read the full review.

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Sony a7 torture test with Leica, Zeiss, Voigtlander rangefinder lenses

I was able to briefly borrow and test a preproduction Sony a7 camera along with the new Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* 35mm f/2.8, Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* 55mm F1.8 and Sony 28-70mm f/3.5–5.6 OSS FE lenses. Unfortunately it wasn’t the a7R, in which I am more interested for the purposes of adapting rangefinder lenses. But this provided a good opportunity nonetheless to generate some images to help me (and hopefully also you) determine whether or not the a7 is a possible platform for rangefinder lenses.

Click on the photo above to read the full review.

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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.

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Pelican 1440: An Elinchrom Ranger Quadra transportation solution

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.

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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.?

The contenders (in order of maximum aperture):

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.

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Canon EOS-1DX and EOS-5D Mark III image review glitch explained

Here’s another glitch/bug with the Canon EOS-1DX (and shared by the 5D Mark III):

Immediately after creating an image and during the time in which it automatically appears on the camera’s display, if you zoom in to check the focus, then try to scroll to a neighbouring image, the camera will remain locked on the image just captured.

I’ve posted my findings in the TechTalk section: Canon EOS-1DX and EOS-5D Mark III image review glitch explained

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Canon EOS-1DX lock up Err 80 code

There has been some online discussion about the Canon EOS-1DX locking up randomly and reporting Err 80 error code. I recently received mine and have been able to reproduce the problem repeatedly and consistently.

I’ve posted my findings in the TechTalk section: Canon EOS-1DX lock up Err 80 code

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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.

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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.

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

f/11

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.

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

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.

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

A mini review here of the Transcend 16GB 600x CompactFlash memory card.

Looking for the perfect camera bag or case? I’ve seen these posts on a few forums and blogs, so thought I’d join the fun as well, spurred on by some of the forum discussions about camera bags and cases. Maybe I can offer some options that would have otherwise gone unconsidered.

Continue to the review.

If one spends some time browsing various photo forums, and is a Canon user, and has some interest in more specialized lenses, then one has likely come across discussions about ‘the Canon holy trinity’ referring to the very fast aperture EF35mm f/1.4L, EF85mm f/1.2L (both versions I and II) and EF135mm f/2L… Recently Canon released the updated the EF24mm f/1.4L Mark II and some consider it along the same lines.

But there is another Canon lens worth considering if one can get past its reputation as the black sheep of the fast Canon primes family. It’s the EF50mm f/1.2L….

Read more here.

Canon EOS-1D Mark IV

An ongoing review of the Canon EOS-1D Mark IV professional digital SLR camera, replacement for the poorly received EOS-1D Mark III.

Click here or on the photo to continue to the review…

Elinchrom Quadra RangerElinchrom Ranger Quadra review: Thoughts about the smallest Elinchrom portable strobe system.


A review of the Canon TS-E 17mm f/4L tilt-shift lens.

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