Jul 07

Manfrotto offers a new “always-on” tripod solution for your camera.

The POCKET series provides a choice of two sized, always-on supports that are easy and ready-to-use in any situation.

The larger POCKET fits all cameras with interchangeable lens. The smaller POCKET is ultra slim and matches all compact cameras. Once the POCKET is installed and folded, it almost disappears and the camera can still be stored in its pouch thanks to the ultra-slim and compact design

Anytime you need to hold your camera in a specific position, the three legs with non-slip rubber feet can be independently set on any surface to provide maximum stability and security. The all-metal structure and the strong springs give a steady and safe support, offering the perfect reliable and durable ‘always on’ solution.

• Three independent legs for perfect leveling
• Adjustable screw position for universal fitting
• Full metal construction and robust components
• Non-slip, high grip rubber feet
• Reference sign for immediately setting the 120° leg angle

• Ultra Slim and ‘always on’ support
• Easy and fast leveling on uneven surfaces
• Stylish and high quality design
• Ergonomic and easy to use
• Quality construction for a steadfast support

where to buy

May 13

The best Point and Shoot Camera you never heard of, the Pentax MX-1

I wouldn’t consider a camera a “Gizmo”, but a point and shoot camera is something I always carry in my camera bag. There are times when a 65 pound camera bag is neither prudent or welcome to carry, so even the most serious photographer needs a pocket-able camera for those times when size and convenience is a necessity.

I’ve tried lots of them and for the most part, they are all serviceable. They’ll do fine for quick shots intended for Social Media sites and e-mails, but I’m often frustrated when I only have my pocket camera and I see something I want to shoot semi-seriously.

Enter the amazing little Pentax MX-1. If I were to write a a wish list of features I’d want in my pocket camera, this meets that list at about 95%.  If it had an optical viewfinder, it would be just about perfect.You won’t believe the price ( I’ll tell you at the end of the article)

In order of importance to me, the pocket camera feature list is as follows.

1) Image quality- if nothing else, a camera MUST produce sharp images with substantial dynamic range and accurate color. The RAW images out of this camera are stellar for the sensor size ( 1/1.7 inch) , the JPEGS are a little over-processed right in the camera which renders more noise than I prefer.

2) Durability- The camera must be able to survive in a backpack or glove box. I have had so many point and shoot cameras literally start losing casing screws as soon as the temperature changes that it swore me off  the whole style of camera for years. The MX-1 has an amazing build quality, it feels like a $1200 camera.

3) Functionality- I want a camera that allows me to take the type of photo I want. I really don’t care if it’s difficult, just as long as it’s possible. Being a DSLR shooter, having PMAS controls are a must, along with independent control over white balance, ISO, Aperture, Shutter Speed and Focus. The MX-1 not only has those, but those features are easily accessible (as a bonus)

…and that’s it. That’s all I ask. I don’t care how the camera looks or how it “feels in my hands”. Neither of those things affects the way the photo looks. Convenience is a convenience that I am happy to relinquish if that means I can have creative control over my imaging. In fact, I find that slowing down a bit is advantageous for the creative process. It is my opinion that when a photographer gives in to pure “size and convenience” as the main reason for camera selection, they’ll never realize their full creative potential. That said….there is a time and place for a camera that you can tuck into a coat pocket and the Pentax MX-1 does that job as good as any camera I’ve tested in this class. In the end, it’s always the images that either make my like a camera or dislike it. Here are a few examples.

42ruggs MIXED LIGHT43ruggs MACRO44ruggs DAYLIGHT45ruggs

As you can see, the MX-1 performs well in varied conditions and delivers sharp images with impressive dynamic range. People will be drawn to the classic styling, but it’s the image quality that will make them want to carry this little camera everywhere


Pentax MX-1 key features

  • 12MP backlit CMOS sensor
  • 4x 28-112mm equivalent F1.8-2.5 lens
  • ISO 100-12800
  • 3.0 inch, 920K dot LCD screen
  • JPEG, Raw (DNG), Raw+JPEG capture
  • 1080p 30fps video recording with stereo microphones
  • Rear control dial and EV dial
  • Pentax SLR-like interface

    where to buy

    Now for the very best part….The Pentax MX-1 retails for only $299.99. which makes it one of the best values in the field. 



Aug 10

Nikon D4 makes an appearance at the finish line…



USAIN Bolt ,fastest man on the planet. 

Jamaican sprinter earned the distinction of fastest man on the planet Thursday by winning ( again) the 200m Sprint Olympic title for a second time , almost beating his own  record with a time of 19.32sec.  After his historic win, Bolt then grabbed  a photographer’s Nikon camera to  celebrates victory in the men’s 200m final.


Apr 06

Nikon V1 performance at ISO 2200

When they announced the new V1 and J1 cameras, people seemed to be generally pleased with the overall specifications from the first mirrorless SLR offerings from Nikon….there was however, the oft-repeated criticism that the sensor was too small. More than a few message board “experts” surmised ( well before ever actually shooting with the camera system, of course) that the smaller sensor would produce too much noise and not enough detail to be a “serious” enough camera for someone who is used to shooting with a full sized DSLR.  We decided to put this question to the test and sent one of our staff writers, David, to the National Zoo to shoot some critters at a moderately high ISO ( 2200 for example).

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Apr 01

Nikon D800 Field Test- What can 36.2 Megapixels do?

I took a unexpected detour to Magnolia Gardens in Charleston, South Carolina today. The Great Egrets are roosting right now, but unfortunately I only had a 200mm as my longest lens to try to capture these beautiful birds on the nest. They boardwalk through the rookery never got closer than 200 feet to the nests, so the results were that the birds were very small in the photos.

I wanted to see what I might be able to get from a crop of the 36 Megapixels on my Nikon D800 sensor and I thought I’d share the results with you, first a full sized image as captured, then a crop of the same photo.

Nikkor 80-200 f2.8 @ f4 1/640 ISO 400. Shot raw, processed with ACR.

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Mar 29

BW in DC- More field testing of the Nikon D800

It’s the first sunny day I’ve had to be able to take the D800 to one of my favorite spots, inside the Lincoln Memorial and put it to the test against this famously super high contrast scene. The 14.4 stops of dynamic range are very evident, (though once my video software and YouTube compression gets involved, the wide DR is somewhat harder to note). All inside shots are ISO 400, Nikon 24-70 @ f5.6. I am continually impressed with this camera.

Mar 24

D800 offers a powerful processor and several cool built in Gizmos

I’ve had my D800 for a day now and I am still scanning the menus to set it up for my type of shooting. I finally made it to the touch-up menu and was surprised at the number of interesting features Nikon decided to include in this camera, features that you wouldn’t expect from a pro-level camera, rather a more consumer type model like the D7000. On second look , however, I noticed that some of these are actually pretty powerful tools that just might come in handy for the working photographer who needs some in-camera processing in the field. There are the expected “selective color”, “fisheye effect”, “miniature effect”, “color outline” and “color sketch” which I generally associate with a consumer camera, but then there are the tools.  Great tools, like:

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