Thursday, September 21, 2017

Canon EF 24-70mm F/4L IS USM Review

Canon EF 24-70mm F/4L IS USM Review
September 2017, Carl Garrard

Canon EF 24-70mm F/4L IS USM Review- Not many DSLR lenses encourage me these days as much as the affordable, weather resistant, macro capable, excellently built Canon EF 24-70mm f/4L IS USM. From the quality of the boxing to my pixel peeping scrutinized shots, this zoom lens is very impressive and versatile for its price. Built quality is L level phenomenal, speed of focus is fast, its macro capability is a big bonus and nearly unheard of in this category. It seems to pair nearly perfectly with the Canon EOS 6D- it's size, weight, weatherproofing, and handling is dynamite on this body. It may not have the mid telephoto range of the older/newer 24-105 f/4L (II), but, image quality is better (especially distortions). It's also more compact, has much better macro capability, and it's nearly the same price as the older 24-105 f/4L model at about $749.00-$899.00 USD. Used copies are available for a bit lower, but there aren't too many of those yet. Read on to hear what my thoughts are on this lens. These days I'm shooting less with DSLR's, but this lens needed to be reviewed here for my readers.





Canon EF 24-70mm f/4.0L BEST CURRENT PRICE

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Ricoh GR II Review

Ricoh GR II Review
September 2017, Carl Garrard
Ricoh GR II Review- No, I'm not late reviewing a camera that was announced in 2015 or anything (ducks for cover)... I mean, its only been two years plus since Ricoh announced it, and I'm just now finally getting around to reviewing the GR II. I will get a pass from my friends at Ricoh though, since they know I've always been a fan of Ricoh cameras in the past. Considering that I've personally met with a few friendly Ricoh representatives from Japan long before they purchased Pentax, and, that I've owned every digital GR model made, I thought I ought to at least dedicate some time for a short review on the latest GR here. And with the review I'll include some notes on this camera that haven't really been mentioned  before in other online publications. Note that this review is solely based on using the GR II with latest firmware v3.00, which few reviews were based on. Ricoh's are some of my favorite cameras in the world. Lets see how I like the newer GR II.


Ricoh GR II Digital BEST NEW PRICE

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Leica M9 Rangefinder Review (Diary Part II)

Leica M9 Rangefinder Review (Diary Part II)
September 2017, Carl Garrard

Leica M9, Voigtlander 35mm f/1.7 Ultron (Image shot with M8)
Leica M9 Rangefinder Review: Since I've decided to switch to a rangefinder as my main camera system, life has been simpler. My creativity along with my passion for photography, seem in full swing again. Sometimes I reflect with a heavy heart when I realize that I almost lost both of those vital components that make photography so special to me. All of my life I've understood the value of a less is more philosophy, but as I get into more mature years I realize the rewards of living your life that way. Since publishing my M8 article I've been active. I've been making new contacts, having discussions with other passionate like-minded photographers, planning more, and looking forward to my next photo outings. I continue to hone my technique using a rangefinder camera. For those of you who are considering getting into rangefinders with a limited budget, this article will serve as a practical point of view when comparing the Leica M9 with the Leica M8. In a way, this is really a part II to my M8 article. This is my fourth rangefinder article here, and likely won't be the last.
Leica M9 Best Current Price

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Photo of the Week: RSM Sunrise (Hurricane Lidia)

Photo of the Week: RSM Sunrise (Hurricane Lidia)
September 2017, Carl Garrard
This photo was a quick grab with my Canon 6D early in the morning when remnants of Hurricane Lidia reached us from Southern Baja, California. I took several shots in the morning with two cameras, my Leica M8 and the Canon 6D. I realized later on that my clock on my 6D is one day ahead. Both were shot on the same morning, you can see the clouds are the same in the central area. Interesting how both cameras rendered the scene so much differently. I think I'm going to have to go with the Canon 6D shot here as being my favorite, perhaps because of the wider 24mm vs. 45mm perspective of the M8, and richer mid tones. I wanted to share my favorite sunrise I've taken all year with two different cameras.



Canon EOS 6D (BEST CURRENT PRICE)

Monday, September 4, 2017

Leica M8 Rangefinder- Diary of Realigned Obsession

Leica M8 Rangefinder- Diary of Realigned Obsession
September 2017, Carl Garrard

Today's article reveals a personal confession of a past gear obsession and a subsequent simultaneous realignment of priorities. This article is more about photography than a review of a camera, but we'll get into that in a bit. My purpose here with publishing this article is that I hope to echo some thoughts and struggles of other photographers, and that by way of having honest disclosure to you. In short, I’m sharing because I care about the world of photography in which we thrive. Like us all, I am human and just as susceptible to making disadvantageous choices once in a while. In this article I reveal my thoughts on newer camera gear, why I've decided to simplify my main camera system, and why ultimately I chose a rangefinder such as the Leica M8 for this task.



Leica M8 Best Used Price

Monday, August 21, 2017

Friday, July 28, 2017

Panasonic Lumix DC-ZS70K Review - The Pocket FZ1000

Panasonic Lumix DC-ZS70K Review- The Pocket FZ1000
July 2017, Carl Garrard

So I'm out and about on a hike recently shooting with one of my favorite compacts, and I run into a pretty rare bird of prey that lands on a branch not too far on the other side of the hill from me. I sneak up and find him, get him sighted on my camera and zoom all the way in. I make a few shots of the Coopers Hawk. I know full well that I don't have the zoom range with this camera to get close enough for an excellent shot, but at least ill be able to crop the image later and document him. After I post the image online, I'm thinking, well... it would be really nice to have a  small compact camera with a longer zoom that I could grab much closer shots of this bird with. It was time to look at the market again and see what I could find out there. More of the story continued...
Panasonic DC-ZS70K Lumix Amazon Best Price

Monday, July 10, 2017

NIKON D7200 Review- PC's First Nikon DSLR Review

NIKON D7200 Review- PC's First Nikon DSLR Review
July 2017- Carl Garrard

For no logical reason, I just haven't got around to doing a Nikon DSLR review here just yet. Regardless, I've used a few Nikon DSLR's here and there, and I'm pretty familiar with the system overall. However, as prices came down and the new D500 and D7500 were announced, I realized that Nikon still had a top performing second generation APS-C DSLR that should get some light on our website. I like to write reviews about cameras that are a great price or bang for the buck and report them to you. As I see it, there's no APS-C DSLR out there today that can give you better image quality, or a such a stacked feature set for its current market price. As camera manufacturers reach the point of diminishing returns on features for new cameras, value for the dollar continues to increase for cameras that are only one or two generations older, and still available new. So if you are like me, and buy 2nd or 3rd generation tech to save some cash (while still preserving your needs in a device), this review is for you!
Nikon D7200 Best Current Amazon Price

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Full Spectrum Photography With The Sony RX10

Full Spectrum Photography With The Sony RX10
May 2017, Carl Garrard

Photo Courtesy: Spencers Camera
So hello all! With some desire to create of late, I've set out on a new personal photographic project. The project I've started is one of making images that stretch my comfort level and imagination. My goal in part I suppose, is to make images that are less common than what we are all used to seeing on a daily basis. We humans in the civilized world are awash in constant stimulus, images, and distractions everywhere around us. My hope, and part of my goal, is to create images that sooth the feeling of  constant bombardment, and can momentarily give us a rest from all the hyper over-stimulation. Images I hope, that can give us pause, help us relax and see things in literally a different light. Images that make us wonder and guess at their subject type, and also to stretch our idea of what reality really is. I've even dedicated a small sub-blog to this goal, called Project Impulse (www.project-impulse.blogspot.com).

Sony DSCRX10/B Best Amazon Price

Friday, March 3, 2017

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX100 Review- The Modernist's Rangefinder

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX100 Review- The Modernist's Rangefinder
March 2017- Carl Garrard


Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX100 Review: Getting excited about a camera design these days doesn't happen that often around here. I guess I'm a bit numb to the fact that there are so many similar models being produced with very few practical differences. Only some cameras really stand out as unique and different. Panasonic's LX100 is far from being a boring copy of a copy, and instead the LX100 is a unique and appealing proposition in the camera market for serious photographers. Even though it's been out for more than two years, and I'm sure a successor is due soon at some point, the LX100 stands out to me as the most capable camera for it's size of any digital camera offered today as of the date of this article. Panasonic's LX100 also has a quite lovely looking design if utility and practicality are your idea of style and grace (it's offered in black or silver). This review will be published in parts, I'll update the article as I go.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX100 Very Low Price!

Monday, February 27, 2017

Panasonic Lumix G Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 12-60mm f/2.8-4 Lens Review

Panasonic Lumix G Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 12-60mm f/2.8-4 Lens Review
February 2017, Carl Garrard

Panasonic Lumix G Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 12-60mm f/2.8-4 Lens Review: As lens names grow longer and longer, so too does the list of features and quality you get for your money these days. Panasonic's Leica DG 12-60mm f/2.8-4 Vario-Elmarit is the first in a new high quality series of zoom lenses they are offering this year. Basically, they are high end Leica zoom lenses for less money than .. uh... Leica's Leica lenses. Um, anyways, so yeah it's a premium high end zoom lens with freeze proof weather sealing, fast 9 blade aperture, all metal construction, and built in image stabilization. Add that this lens is super quick focusing with a very quiet focusing mechanism, and you just might have one of the most versatile zooms made for any lens mount currently on the market. At $998.00 retail, you'll pay the price for it too. And I could care less about the price for what I'm getting. So lets see just how good this lens really is. If you want to check the latest price at any given time, well, see below.
Panasonic Leica DG 12-60mm f/2.8-4

Monday, November 21, 2016

SONY PS4 PRO REVIEW

Sony PS4 Pro Review- SHOUT OUT TIME! :)
This is a me sharing a review unrelated to photography moment, however, we all have other hobbies I'm sure! Sorry it's not a camera review this time, but if you like gaming as much as me, I'm sure you'll appreciate me posting this excellent short review from a dear friend of mine on the Sony PS4 Pro. I won't spoil it, so read and enjoy! (Fyi, new camera reviews are being worked on, I promise...). Latest price below, and link to review click on "read more".

Sony PlayStation 4 Pro - 1TB

Monday, July 18, 2016

Leica M Typ 262 Review- Old, Meet New

Leica M Typ 262 Review- Old, Meet New
July 2016, Carl Garrard
Leica's M Type 262 is a 24mp stills only rangefinder camera. It boasts a glass LCD screen, weather sealing, quiet shutter, huge bright viewfinder with accurate frame lines, forged aluminum top plate and brass lower plate, refined menu system, and a simple and pure design that keeps to a more traditional Leica philosophy. Currently it's priced about mid range for Leica M's, and yes that is still a wallet full of money. Regardless, it might be the best money spent on a Leica rangefinder if it suits your needs. This is a simple beast that oozes tradition, yet the modern sensor and menu system give it a breath of fresh air. Take a look further.

Leica M (Typ 262) Current Best Price

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Canon Rebel EOS T2i (550D) Review- A Rebel That Spoiled Future Rebels

Canon EOS Rebel T2i (550D) Review- A Rebel That Spoiled Future Rebels
July 2016, Carl Garrard
Always a fan of smaller yet capable DSLR's its hard to argue for a better option than Canon's Rebel series. Sure, you can find features in some other brands that aren't available in the Rebels, but as an all rounder option with features that count, Rebels are best sellers for many reasons. My 6D is probably the best all round full frame DSLR out there for the price, but I still desire something smaller, lighter, and with a crop factor that gives me certain advantages. In short, I wanted a smaller DSLR to compliment my 6D, that gave me the best compact DSLR camera for the price. Enter then my choice for the Canon Rebel EOS T2i (or 550D). With so many newer models out there, why would I chose the T2i when there are eight newer models released since? That answer can be best summed up as personal preference for a more simple design, but it's more than that as I will outline in this review.

Canon's EOS Rebel T2i (550D) - On Amazon (Multiple Sellers)

Monday, April 4, 2016

Fujifilm X100T Review

Fujifilm X100T Review
March 2016, Carl Garrard
You were curious for another opinion on the X100T, so, here you go. I, like yourself, was also curious about the X100T. As a photographer, I prefer to have small, medium, and large equipment that tends to mesh with my shooting style and photographic sensibilities. Confident in my equipment needs, these days I can tell in about five minutes with a camera if I'm going to like it or not. With the X100T I knew right when I unpackaged it, it was a camera I'd .... probably like. Why probably? Good question, but the answer isn't really simple and I'll admit I'm not easy to please! Curiosity got the better of me however, and it was time to give this very popular camera a try.


Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Upcoming Reviews Update

Upcoming Reviews Update
March 2016, Carl Garrard
So you saw that I decided to review the Leica V-Lux Typ 114 and loved it (more than Panasonic's version too). Can't say the same thing about the Canon EOS M3 unfortunately. It quite frankly was a pretty boring camera. So off it went back to whence it came. Canon needs to do more work on the mirrorless lineup. While it was interesting enough to trial, it wasn't interesting enough to want to review- time is indeed valuable for me. So.... what's next? Let's take a stab at Fujifilm shall we? How about the X100T ?



Saturday, March 12, 2016

Leica V-Lux Typ 114 Review

Leica V-Lux Typ 114 Review
March 2016, Carl Garrard
Leica's V-Lux Typ 114 camera has intrigued me since its release because I liked Panasonic's clone, the FZ1000 so much. For most, I presume Leica's V-Lux Typ 114 main draw is its companies uncanny customer service and extended warranty, as well as its included Adobe Lightroom software. For me however, the draw doesn't stop just there. There's no denying the Audi design's influence on its exterior- it's a prettier camera to look at than the Panasonic, and the Leica logo and name badge have this sort of impractical influence on pride of ownership. With that said there other reasons for me to review this camera for my own personal desires that I will discuss more in detail in this rather short review. My goal is to answer the questions we all have on the differences of this camera vs. its near clone, the FZ1000. Like you, I was curious as well and the information out there was all sort of spread out- so I decided to compile it for my readers.


Best Current Price - Leica V-Lux (Typ 114)

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Upcoming Review News

Upcoming Review News
March 2016, Carl Garrard

2016 has been a much better year than 2015 so far, but, it's been a busy one. Obviously I've not written much of late on camera reviews or otherwise but I'm hoping the two new cameras coming to my desk will change that. Both cameras are more obscure on the net in terms of total volume of articles written on them, but both cameras are interesting to enthusiasts just the same. Canon's EOS M3 and Leica's V-Lux Typ 114 are both due in my studio very soon. Fresh off my Canon EOS 6D review, I'm ancy to try out Canons most advanced mirrorless model to date. Leica's V-Lux Typ 114 is a camera that is very similar to the FZ1000 from Panasonic that I gave glowing review for, but it comes with some polish and extra goodies over that camera that may persuade me to give up my Panasonic FZ1000. We shall see.

On the photography front I meet with an owner of a fine art gallery soon to discuss terms on showing some of my best work- this is an exciting time for me! Will update any news on that if any- again well see what happens.

Thanks for tuning in and being patient!

-Carl

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

The Canon EOS 6D Review

The Canon EOS 6D Review
January 2016, Carl Garrard

Canon's EOS 6D has been on the market since late 2012, but that fact doesn't seem to diminish its popularity, sales, or production in the slightest (Canon still sells it new). Today, new camera models come and go so quickly, with some manufacturers pumping out new high end interchangeable lens cameras every 6 months. There seems to be some sort of hysteria going on with the camera market and manufacturers these days because of the rapid decline of camera purchase sales over the last few years. Camera companies are throwing everything they can into camera designs to get them to sell. Ironically though, simpler cameras like the Canon 6D seem to be much more rare but highly regarded and extremely popular with enthusiasts. Why is this? Doesn't that seem contrary to what camera companies seem to think these days? I'll attempt to give my best shot at explaining exactly why this is.

Canon EOS 6D Current Lowest Price Link

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Canon Powershot G5X Review- A Winning Effort?

Canon Powershot G5X Review- A Winning Effort?
November 2015, Carl Garrard
Canon Powershot G5X Review: Canon's Powershot division has always been one of my favorite makers of digital cameras. The G series line has been supremely successful for them since the new millennia. I've personally owned several G series cameras over the years, and retain one to shoot with always. So without much hesitation I thought I've give the new G5X a try and report my findings here to my readers. A little bit about the camera for those who haven't read up on it- basically this is a G7X with a larger body and grip, built in electronic viewfinder, tilt and swivel screen, and quite a few more external controls added. It's obvious to me the G5X is the result of customer feedback- those wanting an "all in one" compact solution with enough controls and a contained viewfinder to give a near DSLR experience without the weight or hassle of a DSLR system. Much like previous G series cameras, such as the G16, the idea here is to court to serious photographers when they don't want to shoot with the high end equipment, but want the best experience and image quality they can get from a compact Canon product. So how well has Canon done to procure and satisfy this client base?

Canon PowerShot G5 X Current Amazon Prices

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Ricoh GR Digital IV- Revisiting A Classic

Ricoh GR Digital IV- Revisiting A Classic
November 2015, Carl Garrard
Thorsten Overgaard wrote a wonderful and brilliant review of the Leica Digilux II. In that review he made a very interesting and important observation in a short video about camera equipment. In the review he stated that often times he would often use "inadequate" camera equipment because it would force him to be more creative. Why am I bringing this up?
Simply because I feel the same way at times, that what he said is simply the truth for a lot of us. Yet, there are so few photographers and even less professional photographers that really emphasize the importance being creative with lessor gear. Why is that? 



Ricoh GR DIGITAL IV BEST CURRENT PRICE

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Sony RX10 vs. Panasonic FZ1000- Powerhouse All Rounders at Bargain Prices

Sony RX10 vs. Panasonic FZ1000- Powerhouses at Bargain Prices
November 2015, Carl Garrard

When I wrote my FZ1000 review, I claimed it was one of the best cameras of the year, if not the best camera of the year. That still holds true, and today the FZ1000 is one of the best deals going for an all round imaging device. Prices are amazing for new, and like new (used) units these days- especially considering what you get. Both cameras have been out for a while, but they are still extremely modern as manufacturers are having a tough time improving new designs- i.e. we are starting to see diminishing returns a bit more. Sony's RX10 is a camera that came out before the FZ1000, and while I never finished my review of that camera, I used it enough to know exactly how it compares to the FZ1000, and recently bought myself a used one (Sony loaned me my first). Both are still superb cameras, and there are some advantages to each camera that make them a more compelling choice based on your own needs. This article outlines the value of these cameras, the capability of these cameras, and a brief comparison of strengths and weaknesses when compared to one another.

Current RX10 Prices Current FZ1000 Prices

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Panasonic DMC-L1- Why is it Such Fun?

Panasonic DMC-L1- Why is it Such Fun?
October 2015, Carl Garrard
I've written two reviews and three articles about the Panasonic L1- and yet that doesn't seem to justify how I feel about this camera. I don't quite know how Panasonic managed to get such a joyful camera to market, but to this day I still love picking it up and shooting with it. I still make wonderful images with it and I love the sensor. But that's just part of it. I think perhaps the mix of having everything  you really need, but not more than you need, has something to do with the magic of shooting with it. Controls are plenty but they are well placed, menu diving is rare. Less focus on the camera means more focus on photography. In a way, that's sort of the metaphorical point of this short article.



Panasonic DMC-L1 Shop Used or New- Price Check

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Olympus TG-4 Preview


Olympus TG-4 Preview (The First Big Step?)
July 2015, Carl Garrard
So I'll be evaluating the TG-4, just in time for summer... it's the first compact that I've seen from any manufacturer that allows for raw shooting and shooting modes that enthusiasts normally like to use (sans full manual mode however). And while Olympus bravely step where none have stepped before, here's hoping that the TG-4 is only the first step of many to come in the serious waterproof/durable pocket camera segment that enable the shooter to have more and more control. All the while I hope that they will be including better and better image quality in these models. I've seen an empty market for this kind of camera for enthusiasts for quite some time.


Olympus TG-4 Quick Best Price Results

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Sorry about that...

Readers of the blog recently probably got a pop up message about adult content, I changed some settings recently and accidentally set that option on blogger to "yes" :) As you can plainly see, there is no adult content on my blog.

Everything should be as normal now.

-Carl

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Fujifilm X30 Review- The Hands-On Compact Experience (PT-1)

Fujifilm X30 Review- The Hands-On Compact Experience (PT-1)
April 2015, Carl Garrard

Fujifilm X30 Review- Fuji's X30 might just be the kind of compact camera that would surprise serious shooters the most. Why? Well that is what this review will explain. So, it seems to me that the many who've written the X30 off because its "only" got a 2/3" sized sensor might just be missing out on something really special. Hey, it's your money, I'm not going to tell you how to spend it. If you're like me though (seemingly in the minority), you know that a sensor is only one part of the equation when it comes to making a great camera. My review attempts to find out just how good a compact can be with all considerations made- not just considering a sensor size alone- and the X30 seems to be a perfect camera for this test criteria. *This review is being released in two parts- due to time constraints and other factors, part II will be released at a further date*


Fujifilm X30 Light Speed Price Check