Let’s Talk About Professionals

NIKON D700 + 50.0 mm f/1.4 @ ISO 200, 1/500, f/1.4

I have a rather peculiar confession to make, something I’ve not spoken of loudly to all that many people before. Here goes: whenever someone asks me what I do in life, what I do for a living, I always cringe slightly. Now, I do not mean Photography Life – I am very proud to work here and enjoy writing interesting articles immensely (whether I manage to write something interesting is a different matter altogether, but I dare say I do every now and then). No. I always cringe before saying I am a wedding photographer. Mind you, I do not actually consider myself a wedding photographer – I am curious about people more than I am about weddings, and that is what I am interested in, people and their being. That is part of the reason why the “get to know me” section on my website is the way it is. But if someone asks me just out of curiosity or politeness, they’d be bored to death if I’d go on and dive into all the philosophical debates about how people photography during weddings and wedding photography are different. The time and place for such debates is on a comfortable couch among friends and with a glass of red wine in your hand… if you have patient friends. And so the easy way to answer is – I am a wedding photographer. You’d think that, after I say that, the question’s answered and it is my time to ask that person what he does. It should be that simple, for as soon as I answer I blush and am instantly overcome by the need to explain. And so I still end up diving into all the philosophical monologues trying to justify and explain my work, and consequently bore everyone to death.

I hate that.

A side note: if you suddenly feel the urge to scroll down to the comments section and tell me how I’m a hypocrite for doing what I hate and lying about it to my clients, hold on for just a second. There’s obviously a little bit more to it and I am afraid you are going to have to read all I have to say to get my meaning.

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Photokina 2014: Leica

Leica M-P (Typ 240)_Controls

With most Photokina announcements behind us, it is a good time to look back and overview some of the new products we have not yet covered, namely Leica. As I expected, the new Leica M Edition 60 spawned quite a lot of differing opinions. But it’s not the only camera the legendary German manufacturer has brought to our attention and, whilst none are cheap, the other products are considerably more affordable. There’s the film Leica M-A, a new Summicron-S 100mm f/2 lens for the medium format S system and a few smaller format digital Leica models. Let’s glance through them in more detail.

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The Unorthodox Leica

Leica M Edition 60_Left

Most modern camera makers have already embraced the fact that, at this day and age, providing a tool just for photography is not enough. A camera needs to do video, and really rather well at that. Connectivity is also a big deal these days with WiFi being the very least that is asked for. Bluetooth is slowly making its way in, too, and many raised eyebrows appear due to the lack of built-in GPS, something that’s been available on the cheapest of smartphones for years now. No manufacturer is brave (or stupid, or both) enough to go back to their purely photographic roots. The boldest move I’ve seen in recent years was the Nikon Df with all the “pure photography” campaign, and all they did was add some more analogue controls and remove video capability which, I am fairly certain, could be added via a simple firmware update. Not that I want to undermine that camera, far from it. Merely say that it is very much a 21st century product packed with features you may or may not use. No manufacturer is brave enough to go back to the very simplest things that are needed to capture an image and nothing else. Not even Fujifilm – under the gorgeous retro skin of X-mount cameras lies the very latest technology.

Wait. I think I may be wrong when I say there is not one such manufacturer. Leica M Edition 60, anyone?

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Samsung NX1 and 50-150mm f/2.8 S Lens Announcement

Samsung NX1

When Samsung announced their first Android-powered mirrorless camera, I was really rather skeptical. The problem lies within the OS itself – its versatility also brings a whole lot of issues. Yet I feared the Korean manufacturer would keep at it, for better or worse. In a surprise move for me personally, they seem to have decided against it with the newly announced flagship of the NX system, the NX1. This is by far the most impressive camera in the NX line-up. It does away without Android, but Samsung still calls it a “smart” camera thanks to all the connectivity options. On paper, it is every bit as capable as the best in the class and then some.

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Tamron Announces 15-30mm f/2.8 VC Lens Development

Tamron 15-30mm f2.8 VC Lens

Much like its direct competitor, Tamron is releasing one great lens after another. But if the former Japanese manufacturer started its renaissance with prime lenses, Tamron has been focusing on zooms instead. First, it was the rather great 24-70mm f/2.8 stabilized standard zoom. Then, the equally-great stabilized 150-600mm superzoom. Now, they announced a new professional grade lens, or rather – its development. And, if previous releases are of any indication, there is a good chance the new lens will impress.

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Two Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Lenses Announced

Sigma 150-600mm f5-6.3 OS DG HSM C Lens

Tamron’s new 150-600mm lens created quite a lot of stir. Let’s be honest, it is a cracking lens for its class, and even more so for its price. We covered it in detail in our review. We then covered it again, and again. And… yes, again. And each time, it earned a healthy amount of praise. But someone at Sigma obviously had the same idea, because today they announced not one, but two different 150-600mm lenses. I have a slight feeling they want some of that love their main third party competitor has been receiving lately.

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Fujinon XF 50-140mm f/2.8 R and XF 56mm f/1.2 R APD Announced

Fujinon XF 50-140mm f2.8 R LM OIS WR on Fujifilm X-T1

Just as Fujifilm promised in their latest roadmap, the last quarter of 2014 sees the announcement of their first professional-grade telephoto zoom lens, the XF 50-140mm f/2.8 R LM OIS WR. The surprise release, however, is the revised version of the already-very-popular XF 56mm f/1.2 lens that features an apodization filter. Let’s take a closer look at the specifications of both lenses.

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Silver Fujifilm X-T1 Announced, Firmware Update on its Way

Fujifilm X-T1 Graphite Silver_Front

Along with the new X100T and a couple of lenses, Fujifilm has also announced a “Graphite Silver” version of their well-received X-T1 mirrorless camera. Unlike other silver/black versions of mirrorless cameras that Fujifilm offers – X-E2 immediately springs to mind – X-T1 has a darker shade body. It is definitely more conspicuous than the black body of the original X-T1, but not as much as a regular silver camera would be. It is also more expensive. And don’t worry, there are indeed some better news that owners of black X-T1’s will find very welcome.

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Fujifilm X100T Announced

Fujifilm X100T Black_Front

Back in 2010 – has it really been that long? – Fujifilm started their Renaissance with the release of X100, a compact camera with a fixed, 35mm equivalent lens and a large APS-C sized image sensor at its heart. It was a camera towards which few remained indifferent. Plagued by Fujifilms quirks, most of which have been attended with most thorough and impressive firmware upgrades since, the camera also had a beautiful design and brilliant, unheard of feature – hybrid EVF/OVF. Whether you liked the original X100 or not, most will agree it was a breath of fresh air in the camera industry where most products were, for the lack of a better word, soulless and slightly boring. Four years later, the mark III version is out – called X100T.

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Zeiss Otus 85mm f/1.4 APO Planar T* Announcement

Zeiss Otus 85mm f1.4 APO Planar T

Do you remember the bonkers Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 lens? If you’ve forgotten, here’s a quick reminder. With Otus lenses, Zeiss is basically trying to show the legendary brand’s worth. You might find that somewhat bewildering since most current Zeiss lenses for DSLRs are very, very good and worthy of the name. But with Otus, the German manufacturer wants to release simply the best lenses available for DSLRs from an optical standpoint. And so the first lens of the series was extremely big, heavy, complex and expensive, but also rather beautiful and astonishing optically. As anyone could guess, a 55mm lens with a price tag of $4000 is bound to spawn differing opinions, not least because Otus line-up is manual focus only. Suffice to say the new 85mm family member with the same impressive size, performance and a price tag of, as near as makes no difference, $4500 is going to be no different.

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