…except he was called out😦
At least I had this photo to show him afterwards.
On another note, this is the first image taken with the newly acquired Nikon 70-200mm f/4G.
↑Nikon D810 + Nikon 70-200mm f/4G ED VR AF-S (@ 145mm).
After experimenting with the Nikon D810 (and other cameras) for more than seven months, I continue to prefer the Leica M9/M-E for image quality, at base ISO.
It is clear to me that the D810 has the better performing sensor by all objective metrics and has more malleable files, but somehow the M9 images look better.
(The runner up camera is once again the Leica M8.)
But, am I being premature with my selection? What will the second half of 2016 bring?
Leica may finally improve on the disappointing M240 with the release of a new M in the fall, but realistically most of us won’t be able to get a hold of it until 2017.
Either way, don’t expect it to be a CCD camera like many of us have asked for in My Open a Letter to Leica.
I’ll be interested in it anyway, if the image quality is better than the M240.
2015: No camera selected (it should have been the M9/M-E).
2014: Leica M9/M-E
2013: Leica M9/M-E
2012: Leica M9/M-E
2011: Leica M9
2010: Leica M9
2009: Leica M9
2008: Leica M8
2007: Leica M8
2006: Leica M8
The dividing line (and timing) of an out.
On a technical note, whereas I would have machine-gun-photographed with the D810 at 5 FPS to try to get this shot (and would have had a 50-50 chance), I was able to get the “decisive moment” with the M8 on a single click of the shutter.
↑Leica M8 (CCD Lives! – Prosophos Open Letter to Leica) + Leica 50mm Summilux ASPH.
(Not a scientific comparison between images taken at two different times under different conditions — but this reflects “actual use” conditions for me.)
(See related: Nikon D810 vs. Leica M240 in “real life” use.)
I photographed my kids’ school Fun Fair yesterday.
Here is an image from the event, taken with the D810 + Sigma 35mm 1.4 Art @ f/4:
Here is an image from last year (2015), taken with the Leica M9 + Leica 35mm Summilux ASPH FLE @ f/4:
… And here are the magnified views.
First, the D810 + Sigma 35mm f/1.4 Art @ f/4 (magnified):
Next, the Leica M9 + Leica 35mm Summilux ASPH FLE @ f/4 (magnified):
The D810 + Sigma 35 Art made it easier to photograph the event, the M9 + Leica 35 FLE produced more pleasing image quality (in “actual use” conditions).
In all fairness to the D810 + Sigma 35 Art, when the conditions are right and the focus is nailed, this combination leaves very little to be desired: Nikon D810 + Sigma 35 Art in optimal conditions.
This is a comparison I did tonight for my own purposes. I’ve decided to share it with you.
This reflects my “real life” use of these camera/lens combinations, but does not represent a scientific analysis.
I repeat, this is NOT scientific.
Here are two images from the kids’ school Lip Synch competition.
The first was taken in 2015 with the Leica M240 + Leica 50mm Summilux ASPH:
(f/2.8 | 1/250 | ISO 1600).
The second was taken in 2016 with the Nikon D810 + Sigma 50mm ART (I was sitting a little further back):
(f/2.8 | 1/250 | ISO 1000).
Now here are the central crops (looking at the individuals in sharpest focus from each image)…
Leica M240 + Leica 50mm Summilux ASPH (100%):
Nikon D810 + Sigma 50mm ART (100%):
The results above are consistent with other images I’ve examined.
The variables that differ between these two images are numerous. The only thing they have in common is that they represent real-life output from my use of these camera/lenses.
What do YOU think of the results?
I love the placement of the elements here… including the stray helmet to the right.
On another note, I’m really digging the Nikon 300mm f/4 E PF ED VR (a lens whose name is longer than its focal length!).
It’s slightly larger than my Sigma 50/1.4 ART, but weighs less (755 g for the Nikon, 815 g for the Sigma), making it relatively easy to carry around.
Surprisingly, the 300mm focal length has proven to be very versatile.
↑Nikon D810 + Nikon 300mm f/4E PF ED VR.
I welcomed the return of an old friend recently: the Leica M8. It was the gateway camera for me into the world of rangefinders, almost 10 years ago.
Today, I welcomed another old friend, the Leica 75 Summarit f/2.5. Seeing as the entire Summarit line of lenses have been updated recently, there are currently many great deals to be had on the “old” versions. As it happens, the 75/2.5 is one of my all-time favourite Leica lenses (see my brief 75mm Summarit review here).
As soon as the 75/2.5 arrived this afternoon, I stepped outside (but Only Within 200 feet of My House™) to shoot some quick test shots while the light was still good.
It’s nice to see that my two friends still play nicely together.
↑Leica M8 (CCD Lives! – Prosophos Open Letter to Leica) + Leica 75mm Summarit f/2.5.
Ever since I switched over to the Nikon D810 and started using Sigma Art lenses, I’ve received a few questions asking me how well the Sigmas perform on the high-resolution D810.
Well let me put it this way: the internet got it right… these lenses are exceptional.
The Art lenses are the only lenses I’ve tried on the D810 that gave me the kind of performance I’d gotten used to with my Leica gear. In fact, I’d venture to say I probably would have already abandoned the D810 and missed out on what the camera sensor is truly capable of, if it wasn’t for the Sigma lenses.
As a simple demonstration, I’m posting a crop from yesterday’s image Up in order to illustrate the sort of central sharpness you can expect when using the 35 Art @ f/1.4 (focus is on the near eye):
Sharpness, of course, is only one facet of lens performance, but I also appreciate how this lens has very little distortion and how beautifully it handles light, colour, and out-of-focus rendering. Last, but not least, I also appreciate how Sigma has consciously avoided adorning the exterior with tacky emblems: it comes wrapped in a wonderfully nondescript dark body with minimal markings:
This image is from this morning’s game.
(I decided to turn it into a “hockey card” for my daughter.)
On a technical note, it was nice having a 300mm lens today. Telephoto reach was one thing I’ve missed while using my rangefinder cameras all of these years. As my children have gotten bigger, so have the playing venues… hence the need.
On another note, I’ve gone from begrudgingly accepting my Nikon D810 to deeply appreciating it. I can’t say that I’m passionate about it (yet) like I am with my Leica M3 (or, previously, my M9), but I am shocked to state that I actually enjoy photographing with it. I’ll be damned. It’s interesting how the incremental improvements over the D800 (the quiet shutter being one of the obvious changes) have transformed the user experience. Good work Nikon.
Also, I’ll have to comment more on the Nikon 300/4 lens (used for this image) on a future post. I’ll say this much now though: I’m very pleased with it.
There’s something about the way the Sigma 35mm f/1.4 ART renders… photos from it just sparkle, for lack of a better word.
At this point, I think I may even prefer it over the Sigma 50mm f/1.4 ART, but I haven’t shot enough with either to draw any definite conclusions (though the fact that I might be favouring a 35 over a 50 is saying something, given I’ve traditionally been a 50 shooter).
Either way, both of these Sigma ART lenses are phenomenal. I can’t wait until springtime to get outside in good light and really play with them.
Test shot portraits: the first in harsh artificial light last night; the second in natural light earlier today.
The focus is where I wanted it in the first, but I can’t say that about the second image (it is slightly front-focused). Perhaps I’m out of practice, perhaps my eyesight is starting to fail me, perhaps the rangefinder (or lens) is off.
I have no idea, because this is film.
And that’s the beauty of it.
There’s another close connection going on here…
I’ve attached a Rolleinar 2 close-up lens kit to the Minolta Autocord to get this shot.
This is the first test image with the combination. The buttery-smooth bokeh of the Rokkor f/3.5 is impressive, given the concomitant sharpness in the in-focus areas. It’s one of the reasons I sought out the Autocord in the first place. It’s rare to find such sharp-but-smooth rendering — often you only get to have one of these attributes in a lens. The only other lenses I know of that are as well balanced are the Leica 50mm Summilux ASPH and the Mamiya RZ 110/2.8.
That’s my actual Autocord ↑
As many of you know, I recently purchased a Minolta Autocord.
Unfortunately, I quickly realized (well, not so quickly… I ruined two rolls of film in realizing) that the shutter was not releasing. I had a dead camera. This despite the fact that it had been advertised as “fully repaired and fully functioning” by the seller in Japan (for the record, I’ve dealt with many Japanese dealers over the years, and have always found them to be reliable and honest, so this experience was an exception).
After getting over the initial disappointment , I started searching on the ‘net for someone who could fix it.
Fortunately, it didn’t take long to find the name of a highly recommended serviceman: Karl Bryan.
I contacted Mr. Bryan, and he responded immediately; after several email exchanges he confirmed that it needed to be sent in.
So off it went and now I’m happy to report that my camera is back.
In the interest of sharing, here is the itemized list of inspections/adjustments/repairs performed, as communicated to me by Karl:
I recvd your camera today and have performed the following services on it:
- checked shutter, made/installed cocking lever pin
- checked flash
- checked film advance
- checked frame counter
- cleaned/lubricated focus helix
- reset focus of taking and viewing lens
- cleaned outer surfaces of lens groups
- cleaned mirror/ground glass/Fresnel lens
- installed Fresnel lens correctly
- straightened waist level finder so magnifier pops up properly
- replaced aperture/shutter viewing window
- lubricated film rollers and film advance drive gear
- tightened pressure plate screws
- replaced shutter control lever
- installed missing grub screw on focus lever
- installed missing grub screw on meter on/off switch
- replaced waist level finder lift button
- installed battery and battery adapter in battery housing
…I have included a CD of Autocord information in the box with your camera.
The camera shutter had been CLA’d, but the camera tech forgot to put lacquer on the shutter cocking lever pin. Without the lacquer the pin will fall out. I made a new pin and installed it. I lacquered the pin and the 2 aperture control plate screws (camera tech also forgot to lacquer the screws). It was a real pleasure to work on your camera, a very clean camera. As recvd the focus was very very stiff (temp was 1 C) and infinity focus was when the focus lever was set to 50’ (camera tech probably didn’t have an autocollimator for setting focus). I cleaned/lubricated the focus helix and then I reset the focus, a very sharp lens. I also straightened the waist level finder so that it would open smoothly and the magnifier would not droop (can’t focus if the magnifier isn’t parallel to the ground glass). I also replaced the damaged rear waist level finder lifting button and the badly damaged aperture/shutter viewing window. You will find the old parts in the upper film spool area of the camera.
I tested your meter, the CDS meter works and appears to be accurate. To use the meter…”
As you can see, Karl took care of everything an now my Autocord has been restored to its former glory.
It is operating beautifully.
Suffice it to say, if any of you reading this are interested in having a Minolta Autocord skillfully serviced, do not hesitate to contact Karl (he is located in the USA and can be found easily via an internet search — or you can contact me and I’ll forward you his email) and you will be taken care of by a true gentleman.*
Thank you Karl!
*NOTE: As always, the recommendations I make on my site are based on my experiences as a paying customer. I am not affiliated with, nor do I earn any money (advertising or otherwise) from any third party photography-related products, services, or website links.
I’ve re-instituted some of my Lens Reports from a few years back.
They can be found on the “Instruction” page of this website (see above), but I’m also posting the links below for your convenience:
Thanks for reading,
(or, Gear Update 2016).
At this time each year, moments of photographic doubt seem to plague me — doubt about the work I’ve produced, and doubt about the gear I’m using,
The annual condition is not so much secondary to the realization that yet another year has slipped by, and therefore the “frames” of our existence have measurably diminished (though this too carries a great weight).
No, it’s more to do with the winters here: the lack of light and warmth tend to encourage an introspective existence. And when a photographer does a considerable amount of thinking (and not much photographing), it usually leads to trouble.
So, here’s the trouble I’ve gotten myself into.
I made the decision to walk away from my Leica gear. All of it. This was, in fact, decided last month.
I made the decision to pick up a Nikon D810, and photograph with Sigma 35m f/1.4 Art and (Edit December 29, 2014:)
Nikon 85mm f/1.4G Sigma 50mm Art lenses.
I made the decision to stay with film — the only photographic medium that matters (my opinion of course… but I’m right and you know it). To see this through, I’ve decided on a Minolta Autocord as my “walk around” camera. I’m waiting for it to arrive. I can’t wait for it to arrive.
Finally, I made the decision to return to the mighty Mamiya RZ67+110/2.8, the best portrait-producing combination I’ve ever used. Why did I sell it? You’d have to ask somebody who knows. I no longer have the RZ67, but I will.
Edit (December 29, 2015): The Nikon 85/1.4G has been replaced with the Sigma 50/1.4 Art and the image above has been updated to reflect this change. The Minolta Autocord arrived not functioning, so it has been sent for CLA.