Wednesday, February 10, 2016

The Leica SL Review: Love or Hate, or Both?

Leica SL with 35mm f/1.4 Summilux


I love the new Leica SL. Ok, I didn't have to actually buy it by selling my car and half my belongings to get it, so my opinion is slightly skewed. However as a camera reviewer I am obligated to to try my best to give an unbiased opinion based on my user experience as well as an understanding the current market place and where it is going. First of all the market is going mirrorless. Brands like Nikon and Canon who laughed at the idea that the future was mirrorless are now clamouring to enter the mirrorless market for the mid-level photographer. The market is also going higher end since the smartphone camera has decimated the sub $500 point and shoot market (except for waterproof and action cameras). The Leica SL is definitely mirrorless and it is premium. It's built like a tank, it has the highest resolving electronic viewfinder, it's weather-sealed, it's autofocus (unlike the Leica M system), and it's full-frame. This camera should be loved by everyone, but it's not. At $7450 USD body only (as of February 2016), many are up in arms about the SL. I've gotten more hate comments on my Instagram and YouTube comment section for reviewing this camera than any other camera I've reviewed in the past 4 years. Does this camera deserve the angst that it's receiving from many? Let's find out.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Firmware Update Review: Leica T vs Leica T

The firmware update is the future. Fujifilm made a slick marketing video for firmware version 4.0, treating it like a new camera release. Leica didn't go that far, but it was treated as an event and it should. Like Fujifilm, Leica's camera cycle is slower than other major manufacturers so the firmware update is the best way to keep a camera up-to-date and competitive within their own eco-system as well as the competition's. The Leica T has had at least 3 major firmware releases, as well as smaller in-between touch-ups. We are currently at firmware version 1.4.3, and I hope there are plans for more. On my most recent Youtube video, I tested the latest firmware against the previous version. Here are the most noticeable changes:

Thursday, January 14, 2016

First Impresions: Fujifilm X-Pro 2



The day has finally arrived, the announcement of the new Fujifilm X-Pro 2. I remember it was almost a year ago when I was talking with the Fuji Guys in Vancouver and we were discussing the upcoming flagship camera. Greg told me that they wanted to get the camera right the first time so they were in no hurry to rush its release. I totally get it. Most brands' flagship model rarely gets updated annually, and in some industries (like cars) they typically lose money on the flagship model. Fujifilm could not allow the X-Pro 2 to become insignificant within 1 year of release. It would have been easy for
Fujifilm to release the X-Pro 2 last year with parts-bin features from existing X series cameras. If all they did was throw in the existing hybrid EVF/OVF from the X100T, the upgraded firmware from the X-T1/X-T10, and throw in weather-sealing, the X-Pro 2 would have been released on time. This would have been a disappointment for many. The flagship should wow people. There should be significant upgrades to the body, sensor and processor. Has Fujifilm done it? Have they produced a camera worthy of being the flagship that will lead the rest of the X branded cameras? From my review of the pre-production X-Pro 2, the answer is a clear YES!

Fujifilm X70: Ricoh GR Destroyer?



I love my Ricoh GR. I bought the original GR-1 back in 1998 for my honeymoon and I've never looked back. It was so good I started using it for some commercial and wedding work. I currently own the GR Limited Edition and it is my EDC (Every Day Carry). It is also so good that I can still use it for some of my commercial work. No other camera has come even close to replacing it, except for maybe the Fujifilm X100T. However, due to the size of the X100T, I always stuck with my Ricoh GR. This is because as my EDC, it has to be small enough for me to carry with me when I go out for dinner, to a concert, to a wedding (without looking like I'm trying to take over), or even going incognito for some serious street photography. No camera has come close... until now. Can the Fujifilm X70 topple the king of the compact APS-C sensored camera? Let's find out

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Shooting with the Leica M and D-Lux in HK



Back in October John Lehmann of the Globe and Mail met me in Hong Kong to shoot some YouTube videos. For one of the projects we decided we wanted to shoot with Leica cameras, so we both approached our contacts at Leica North America and got what we wanted. John went with the M Monochrom Typ 246, an excellent choice. It made sense for him since he already owns an M240 and a few lenses (28mm, 50mm, 90mm); but which camera would I choose? After much thought, I decided to borrow the Leica D-Lux Typ 109. Why the D-Lux? It is a perfect camera for travel because it's compact, light, feature-rich and powerful. Check out my full review with pictures on my YouTube channel here:

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Fujifilm XF35mm f/2 R WR: 1st Impressions



Fujifilm has finally done it. Like the Leica M lens model, sell multiple versions of the same focal length but at different maximum apertures. This is a smart decision. Leica has done this and the formula has worked for them for over 60 years. Can Fujifilm pull it off? They can with the 50mm equivalent focal length of 35mm on a cropped APS-C sensor. The venerable XF35mm f/1.4 is probably the best selling prime lens in the Fujifilm x-mount line-up, and for good reason. It’s sharp, compact, and reasonably priced. With the announcement of the new XF35mm f/2 R WR, Fujifilm has matured their lens choices for prime lens shooters. For those who wish for a slightly lighter, slightly more compact, and a weather-sealed body at a 50mm equivalent (at a lower price point as well), the new XF35 f/2 R WR is a solid lens.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

My Podcast Interview with Ibarionex's The Candid Frame

'The Photographers'. Instagram images taken with my iPhone 5s. 


I had the privilege of being invited as a guest on Ibarionex's The Candid Frame podcast this past weekend. Although he is a guest speaker at the big PIX 2015 show this week in Seattle, as well as a photowalk in LA right after, he made the time to fit me into his very busy schedule to talk with me about my YouTube channel and Instagram photography. If you haven't listened to Ibarionex's podcast, give it a listen. He's interviewed everyone from David Hobby (The Strobist) to Mary Ellen Mark, and even local photographer and friend Kale Friesen. I'll keep this short since the podcast is almost an hour long. Thanks for visiting and happy listening!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Instagram and iPhone for Daily Photography

'Chinatown 2014' taken entirely with iPhone 5S


To start off, I'm very sorry for not updating my blog in such a long time. Many of you who have followed me for the past few years know that I've used this blog as my primary means to review cameras and share my photographic thoughts. I will still continue to do so on a redesigned website that will be cleaner and easier to navigate. I have also started posting most of my reviews on YouTube so check it out if you haven't already done so. Eventually my YouTube reviews will be released at the same time as my written reviews with images, but that won't be for a few months yet.

In this very quick article, I want to talk about Instagram as a serious platform for sharing images. I know Flick'r has long been the king for us photo nerds to share and consume images, but here's a few compelling reasons why I use Instagram as my professional portfolio for my photography:

Sunday, May 17, 2015

First Look and Preview: The Fujifilm X-T10



Fujifilm Canada contacted me a few weeks back. The title of the email: Shhhhhhh! They were wondering if I was interested in reviewing a pre-production model of the latest X series camera, the X-T10. I've always preferred reviewing production ready cameras so I could immediately see the final image results (you can not post pre-production images, plus the firmware is rarely if ever finalized). However, I knew it would basically have the same sensor as the X-T1, X100T and X-E2, plus I was super curious about the new baby brother to the X-T1. I wanted to know how it would feel in the hands and how it would shoot on the street. This was the most important thing I wanted to test anyway, so I decided I would take up the offer and play around with the pre-production X-T10. What did I think?