News and article recap: May 8th, 2011

It’s a warm and sunny sunday here in central Germany, and after spending the first half of the day in our beautiful garden I decided the sun’s become too hot and went inside to share with you some more interesting news and articles I found this week.

Leica Freedom Train
Ernst Leitz II, son of Leica-founder Ernst Leitz, helped many people — Leitz employees as well as fellow citizens — to flee the Nazi regime before and during World War II. The Amateur Photographer recollects the story and reports on the ongoing efforts of a british Rabbi to find the last living survivors.

Sigma SD1
According to this post in an Australian Sigma user forum, the release of the new Sigma’s new flagship DSLR SD1 is postponed to June 2011, to coincide with the company’s 50th anniversary.

The first digital camera
The blog “ISO50” reports on the first digital camera, built by Kodak in 1975. The “camera” that looks more like a projector fitted to an early PC, took 23 seconds to save a single image onto a datassette. The whole story’s available at Kodak.com.

Leica Summarit-M 90/2.5 review
Olivier Giroux reviews Leica’s affordable tele lens, the 90mm f/2.5 Summarit-M, and finds that it suffers from severe focus shift — a side effect of the lens’ simple, spherical design. In another article, he explains why fast M-mount lenses longer than 50mm need floating elements.

Leica Summarit-M 35/2.5 on the Sony NEX-3
Wolfgang Spekner, photographer and photo-blogger from Austria, tried the “cheap” 35 on his Sony NEX-3, comparing it to the more affordable but faster Zeiss Biogon 2/35 ZM. The little Summarit really shines on the NEX! Now is that a praise for the lens or for the camera? Or maybe for both?
(The 35 Summarit is in stock at B&H photo as I’m writing these lines — hurry if you want one!)

Thanks for stopping by, and have fun reading! :-)

A photographic review of 2010

So 2010 is over. And as it is with things past, we tend to forget them through the daily work that occupies us. 2010 was quite a year, though. Many things happened. I’ve learned a lot of stuff. I have so many great and some not so great memories. I can’t do justice to all of them. So, here’s a little photographic review of 2010. One picture for each month — except for April, since I’ve lost all my pictures from April due to a harddisk crash in late 2010. (This is one of the not so great memories …)

January: Emil watching the snow fall through our balcony door. (This picture was featured in Steve Huff’s “Daily Inspiration” column.)

Olympus E-P1 + OM Zuiko 50/1.8

Continue reading A photographic review of 2010

Photkina 2010: A report in pictures

As I previously announced, yesterday I spent the day visiting photokina 2010 in Cologne, and I brought back with me a huge load of impressions, pictures of latest models, of prototypes, and other stuff. So without much ado, here’s my report on the fair — by manufacturer, in alphabetic order.

Photokina 2010 south entrance

General impressions from the fair will be posted in a seperate gallery soon.

CAUTION! Massive amount of pictures ahead! Make sure your connection is fast enough, and that you have enough time! :-)

Continue reading Photkina 2010: A report in pictures

Picture of the day (September 7, 2010)

One of the many plants on the window ledges in my office. Note to self: Don’t forget to water …

"Office plant" | Leica M8 + Biogon 35/2 @ f/2, 1/90 sec, ISO 160

Lightroom 3.2 and the M8’s high-ISO noise

The Leica M8 has always had a reputation of being rather bad noise-wise at its higher ISO settings of 1250 and 2500. At least that’s what its opponents claimed – especially those with a Canon full-frame DSLR background. On the other hand, especially in black and white, the M8’s JPEG output has a very film-like look to it, and isn’t actually worse than what you get with 35mm film rated at ISO 400 or higher.

Yet with modern image processing software, noise isn’t really an issue anymore. Even if your RAW processing software has no sophisticated noise reduction routines, there are plug-ins and stand-alone solutions available that do a very good job – Neat Image for example. And with the latest iteration of their highly acclaimed RAW workflow software Lighroom, in version 3.2 Adobe have managed to improve the already solid noise reduction routines of the previous version even further, to a point where a dedicated plug-in becomes superfluous.

The following image has been shot in our rather dimly lit living room at ISO 2500, the exposure time was 1/30 second and the aperture was wide open at f/2. Still, the image turned out slightly underexposed, so I head to tweak the curves a bit to make it look fine. In my opinion, Lightroom 3.2 did an exceptionally good job here, finding a decent compromise between noise reduction and detail retention – the resulting image I got with Neat Image was actually not better! But judge for yourself! (Click the image for a larger 1000px version.)

Leica M8 + Biogon 35/2 @ f/2, 1/30, ISO 2500 | Processed in Lightroom 3.2