Some of the gear used to collect, edit and post images:
- Leica M9 – (Full frame CCD, rangefinder) It was a long road to get to this camera. Point and shoots, to DSLR’s, to micro-4/3, to M8 and finally the M9. It was worth the wait and effort. A selection of Leica M9 photos can be found here.
- Sony RX1r (Full frame, mirror-less) The Leica game is expensive, too expensive at times. Sony was never really a consideration as far as cameras go for me. Over the years, Sony has created more and more interesting camera, but nothing really caught my attention until the full frame A99 was produced. Full frame, good, GIGANTIC body, not good. Putting that excellent sensor into a small, good looking body is just what I was waiting for. A sample of full size color and black and white images can be found in this growing gallery here.
- Sony NEX7 – (APS-C, mirror-less) This is a bit of a workhorse. It’s fast, portable, has a very nice sensor, decent ISO capabilities and maybe most importantly, it’s very compact. This was also the first EVF that I thought was a decent substitution for an optical view finder. Currently, this camera is a bargain. Some stores still have new stock, but with just a little looking you can find these on the second hand market for $600 – $700 with the kit lens. It is a bit of a polarizing camera. People either find the form factor great and easy to work with or slightly awkward. I’m a fan of the form factor. I like the tilting screen and the camera sits nicely in the hand. Looks wise, I’m not a big fan, but that’s all up to personal taste. I lean more towards the Leica M series, the Fuji X100 cameras and the OMD line. I have just uploaded a sample gallery of some of the images I took with the kit lens. Most kit lenses get bashed pretty bad for their performance. This one has some drawbacks, but overall I was/am very impressed with what it is capable of producing. The bottom line is that you are getting a very compact body with a larger APS-C sensor, packed with 24mp for outstanding resolution. With a pixel density that high there are some compromises when shooting high ISO, above 6400, but even that is more than tolerable for what 90% of us need when posting to Facebook or emailing to friends and family. A gallery with full size images can be found here.
- Sony RX100II (1 inch sensor) – I had an internal struggle with myself over the last couple of months about what camera would accompany me when I spend time engaged with my other hobby, cycling. The Sony NEX7 was a decent companion, but in the end it was just too bulky to join me on long days in the saddle. The internal struggle I was having was between the Ricoh GR and the Sony RX100II. My heart said the Ricoh GR was the best choice while the mind said the more practical choice was the RX100. Practicality won over the heart and the Sony sits in front of my as I write.
- Ricoh GR – (APS-C, mirror-less) *Text from “Ricoh GR” post on September 12, 2014* I’ve been a fan of Ricoh’s digital cameras for a few years now. It started with the Ricoh GX200. I immediately fell in love with the camera because of a few standout reasons. At the time, and I believe to this day, there is no other compact camera that is as comfortable and secure in the hand as these Ricohs. The simplicity of the menu is something that all other manufactures can learn from and I’ve owned and operated Canons, Nikons, Olys, Panasonics, Sonys and Leicas. The Leica’s menu (M8 and M9) is pretty straight forward too, but there are so few options and parameters to change it would be pretty hard to complicate it. Along with the excellent feel in the hand, the buttons, dials and switches are thoughtfully placed and have excellent feel with positive feedback. Finally, that Ricoh lens is quite stunning. Sharp across the frame, good contrast and very little distortion.
FujiFilm X-T1 – (APS-C X-Trans CMOS) It’s been a long time since I’ve owned a system camera. I think the last one I owned was the Olympus OM-D E-M5. It was a lot of fun, but at that time my momentum was taking me into full-frame sensors so I sold it and a few other items to fund my my move into the Leica M8 and finally the Leica M9. Now, a few years later I’ve found myself missing the flexibility and the the speed of a modern system camera. I looked closely at the Olympus E-M1 and the FujiFilm X-T1 and made a move on the Fuji. It was a very tough call, but there were a few reasons I ended up with the Fuji: 1) I’ve always loved Fuji colors right out of the camera 2) Outstanding reviews on the X-Trans sensor 3) An assortment of outstanding lenses 4) Ergonomics 5) Outstanding EVF and finally, It looks GREAT in graphite silver.
Canon Canonet QL17 GIII – (Full Frame Film!) The is the newest (and oldest) camera to join the group. Long story short, my father had one and it made a lasting impression on me. So when I decided to get back into film, after a 25 year absence, what better way than with the classic Canon QL17. There are dozens of great sites dedicated to this amazing rangefinder with in-depth information, but I’ll try to boil all that down to a few sentences. The name “QL” refers to Canon’s quick load system and the “17” refers to the lens’ speed, f/1.7. The lens is a nice bright 40mm f/1.7 with a tabbed, relatively short focus throw. The only drawback with it is probably finding suitable batteries to replace the now illegal mercury ones. Canon made over a million of these little gems in the QL range so finding one on eBay ($50 – $400) isn’t a problem.
- iMac – (early 2009, 24 inch) This is a rather old machine that keeps on plugging along. It’s starting to show is age with some of the new software (Lightroom and the NIK suite).
- Macbook Pro 15″ Retina (mid-2015) The iMac, listed above is still running, but it was time for an update and the portability was appealing. Plus, using the Retina display is beautiful for image editing.
- iPad – It’s an iPad, not much else to say.
- Microsoft Surface Pro III – (2014, 128Gb Pro) I’m a bit of a gadget guy and like new and interesting devices. The Microsoft Surface Pro caught my attention and I jumped on-board as soon as the 128Gb Pro dropped to $599. It’s been about a a month since the purchase and I’ve come to really appreciate its versatility and know about its weaknesses. Previously when I traveled I’d pack the Macbook Air and an iPad Mini. Now I’m only packing the Surface Pro. Lightroom 5 runs great, the expandable storage slot makes for great back up storage when I’m on the road and I like that it serves as both a laptop and tablet device. Battery life could be better, the volume could be louder and it could be lighter. Other than those gripes, the keyboard is fantastic, the screen is bright and sharp, it is fast, and for my job, the pen input is essential. The MBA hasn’t seen a day of action since bringing home the MS Surface Pro. (Update – The Surface Pro developed an issue with the keyboard that firmware couldn’t fix, so it was traded in for a Surface Pro III after two hours of round and round discussions with the staff at the local MS Store)
Flight gear – Must have travel items:
- Westone 4 (in ear monitors) These tiny earphones have 4 drivers that deliver a lot more sound than you’d expect from something this size. Why I like the for travel? 1. The sound quality is excellent. They are comfortable for long periods of listening. 3. You can lay your head down without any interference from the earphones sticking out past your ear. The passive noise cancelling is great bonus and finally, they’re small and easy to travel with.
- Rapha backpack – A perfect, good looking backpack that holds a lot of gear and is comfortable to wear.
- Rimowa Limbo Cabin – This small-ish cabin bag is durable, protects the contents well and rolls with very little effort.