PANORAMIC VIDEO CAMERA SYSTEM : THE PEN CAMERA : GOOD SLR CAMERA.
Manfrotto 498RC2 Ball Head with Quick Release Replaces Manfrotto 488RC2
This ball head has been total redesigned for better ease of use. A new design friction control knob allows the photographer to achieve superior control when handling the camera and making micro movements without having to totally lock and unlock the ball head. The knobs have been redesigned to be more ergonomic, easier to handle and more user-friendly. The ergonomic shape allows the user to better lock the ball securely. A repositionable Locking lever allows the user to place it in a comfortable position in order to use it in the most convenient way. Just pull it outwards, put it in the best working position and then release it. This model features a RC2 quick release plate including an additional safety system that prevents the accidental detaching of the camera from the head. The locking lever securely locks the head both in the +90° -90° ball positioning and in the 360° pan movements. With solid aluminum construction, this head is the ideal support for all traditional or digital small or medium format cameras weighing up to 17 pounds. This replaces the Manfrotto 488RC279% (11)
Goodbye, Leica M9. Hello, Sony!
I think it is hard to be a photographer without being at least a little emotional. After all, every photo conveys an emotion and tells a story, and it is the job of the photographer to capture and present that emotion in his or her own unique way. In the process, it is not difficult to also become emotionally attached to our favorite cameras and lenses - after all, they are the instruments with which we express our artistry and creativity. Over the decades, the Leica rangefinders and legendary photographers who used them have produced some extraordinary and immortal images. It is not difficult to get really attached to a Leica M camera - it is made so beautifully. Since buying my M9 almost 18 months ago, I have had some memorable photos from the M9. For several months after I got it, I used to bring it with me any time I stepped out of the house, and there was hardly a single day that I did not use it. So my right brain completely fell in love with my M9. But I also have this one gene in my DNA that empowers my left brain, the part that thinks logically, to periodically ask some tough questions, and if necessary, take control. About six months ago, my left brain started asking some uncomfortable questions that were met with outrage by my right brain. "How dare you ask such a question? Don't you know this is the Leica M9?!" But my left brain has this nasty habit of being persistent and not feeling hurt by insults thrown at it. So the arguments did not go away. In fact, they got louder, more engaged and more frequent. Eventually, my right brain was completely exhausted from all the shouting, while my left brain relentlessly continued to ask the tough and unanswerable questions in a calm but persistent voice. Spock over McCoy. Net result: I sold my M9 - got about 90% of what I paid for it, so not bad for almost 1.5 years of usage. But it's gone, and I think I made the right decision. No regrets, no remorse, no looking back. IMO, it is time to sell the M9 short. If the M9 were a stock traded on an exchange, I would be massively short on it. In spite of its superb manufacturing quality and nice looks, it is a terrible camera at any price, let alone US $7000 (body only). The Leica M9 is the ONLY camera in the world I know that does not let me: - compose accurately - focus accurately - see my subject completely - review accurately what I just shot Those are as fundamental to photography as it gets. What else the heck does a camera do any way? And the M9 fails in all of them. Any one of the above should be enough to flunk a $500 camera, and the $7000 M9 (body only) flunks all of them. It is like the question "Apart from that, Mrs. Lincoln, did you enjoy the show?" In addition to the above primary problems, the M9 also suffers from a large number of other shortcomings, including terrible performance at even moderately high ISO (e.g., 1250), misalignment problems between the viewfinder and the lens, drift in the viewfinder even after calibration of the camera to specific lenses by Leica, the lack of live view, the necessity to buy a separate Leica grip for $250 and a "Thumbs up" for $125 to just be able to hold the camera comfortably, an idiotic external view finder for $350 to be able to use any lens wider than 28mm, the inability to use a focal length longer than 90mm, the lack of long focal length lenses, lack of any kind of zoom lens, lack of macro, the lack of even basic video, a garbage LCD on the back, etc. etc. - it is a very long list of problems. On top of all that, it is absurdly overpriced. For about the same money as an M9 (body only), you can get a Nikon D3S + a Carl Zeiss Distagon 1.4/35 lens + a used Leica 50 mm Summicron-R with a Leitax adapter, and be shooting beautiful pictures at ISO 12,800 in the glow that comes from a Leica M9 owner's face turning red. But I have many sane, rational friends who like their M9 in spite of its huge shortcomings. These are intelligent people and experienced photographers whose work I admire, and I respect their decision. I guess I am too much of a businessman, so I chopped it off and said goodbye. It was a tough decision, but now, after the fact, the world has not ended, and I am perfectly fine with my decision! Ah, but I kept all my M lenses! Those are masterpieces (in spite of their long minimum focusing distances, especially the Noctilux f/0.95), and that is the real secret to the greatness of the M system. My M lenses work far, far, far better with my Sony NEX-5 than they ever did with my M9. The Sony solves most of the problems with the M9, and in addition, also gives me other goodies like autofocus with the Sony lenses, HD video, panoramic stitching built into the camera, HDR built into the camera (although that feature sucks), and in a size that is about 50% of the M9! The Sony also beats the crap out of the M9 in the #1 reaDidn't get the memo !
0 PHOTOGRAPH PARTICULARS 0 These are the fun moments on a road trip. There were three BIG parking places at Grand View Point, clearly intended for BIG RVs. Everybody else parked in the regular size spots across the way, but these nice folks (we met them when they would stop to photograph the same places we would), just didn't see the sign or had dillusions of grandeur about the true size of their rental pee wee car. Happens to the best of us. When Ed and I emerged from our motel rooms in Farmington, New Mexico on one side of the road was an "Adult Video" road sign. On the other side of the road was a huge billboard with a "Jesus is watching you" message. I took a photo of the two justaposed signs, but was laughing so hard, I blurred the photo. Lots of events like this one, add humor to a road trip. 0 ACTIVITIES DAY THREE OF TWELVE 0 We had rooms reserved at the Moab, Utah Motel 6 for Tuesday and Wednesday night. This would serve as our “base camp” for visits to the Island in the Sky district of Canyonlands and to Arches National Park. Taking only camera gear and day hiking packs, we left Moab just before dawn on Wednesday morning for our visit to the Island in the Sky area. We stopped on the way into Canyonlands to photograph the sunrise and to look over and photograph the Shafer trail from the rim. In the 1980s, I had ridden a dual sport motorcycle (Honda XL500) along the White Rim road and up the Shafer trail. I was hoping that the road might be in good enough shape to travel it on this trip with Ed’s Jeep. After stopping at the Shafer trail overlook we made our way to the Mesa Arch TH parking. We were pleased to find nobody else there. We would not see one other person on the hike in or out nor doing our stay photographing Mesa Arch. A pleasant surprise. After Mesa Arch we drove to Grandview Point and took a few photos there. Then backtracking we took the side road to the Upheaval Dome trail. It was the first of several geological formations that geologists have yet to agree on as to what formed it. It appears as a giant crater with a light colored “sharp” dome, rising out of its center. I tried some side by side shots there so I could stitch a panoramic photo together later. We stopped at the Canyonlands visitor’s center on the way back and found that a free “permit” was required these days to drive the Shafer Trail and the White Rim road, so we obtained our pass and headed down the fun, interesting, and exciting route off the Island in the Sky plateau, down the old Shafer cattle trail to the White Rim road, which then runs along an esplanade above the Colorado and Green Rivers. Traveling down the Shafer and along the White Rim roads in the Jeep, with windows rolled down, was a real treat. There are some rough spots on the White Rim road so it took us awhile to work our way back to Moab (for a mid-day meal). That afternoon, we drove into Arches National Park headed for the trail to Delicate Arch. The weather came apart on us by this time and the gusting winds were absolutely fierce. Ignoring the blasting winds as best we could we made our way to Delicate Arch. The bad weather kept the number of people down, but the lighting wasn’t the best - - and staying upright in the high gusts of wind took some work in places. Still, we had come to see Delicate Arch, up close, and the hike there was well worth the time. Leaving the Delicate Arch trail, the wind dropped down a little as light faded over Arches NP. We drove to the Windows Section of Arches and then out of the park as the sun began to set. Somewhere near the Petrified Dunes viewpoint area of the park, Ed sensed excellent sunset light in the offing, and we parked the Jeep off the side of the road, and climbed a small ridge for some photographs. Ed’s intuition was perfect. Though the winds got cold, we got some of the best light of the entire day for photography, with warm red sandstones in dusk light and the snow covered La Sal Mountains in the distance (Mt. Peale at 12,720’ is the highest peak in these high desert mountains). A bright moon peeked through the cobalt blue evening skies and storm clouds traveled quickly across the sky. So that is how the third full day of our Four Corners road trip ended; photographing the golden sunset light inside Arches National Park. Fun. 0 3,875 MILE/12 DAY ~ 4 CORNERS ROAD TRIP OVERVIEW 0 At the start of year 2011, I made tentative plans to take a two week solo “road trip” through the Four Corners area (The Colorado Plateau), during the last half of March. Then, if my wife could get the time needed off from her part time job, I also planned a “road trip” vacation to the Southwest, in April with her. When I put the plan together for the March trip, I decided to see if an old friend of mine, Ed (Flickr’s: OldWrangler), might be interested in joining me. I volunteered to take my old four wheel drive pickup truck and split the gasoline expense with him. We would each get an i
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