How are Leica lenses made?

Ever wondered how Leica lenses are made, and what makes them so special? Leica just released a video of their manufacturing process, detailing the intricate method of producing some of the world’s best optical instruments.

But it makes me wonder, considering how well the video was made: was it shot with a Canon 5D Mark II? ;)

Knowing that their process involves a lot of skilled human hands (and eyes), how much would Leica lenses cost if they used cheap labor from China or third–world countries like the Philippines?


iPhone Documents the Afghanistan War

You’d think only high–end digital SLR cameras can only take photos in war–torn Afghanistan, but these photos from AP shooter David Guttenfelder show that even an iPhone can tell the story.


Behind the Scenes with Fashion Photographer Mario Testino

Ever wondered how it is to work with the world’s top photographers? You’d be surprised how some things are kept so simple without the fuss, you’d think the others are overdoing it. (via petapixel)


Cellphones Make Great Cameras

We often hear from photography purists that the best camera is the one you have with you when you need it. This puts camera–equipped mobile phones as the perfect candidate as it’s the device you’re most likely to carry with you anywhere. Then again, not all phone cameras are great. But Gizmodo shows us that cellphones make great cameras, with 395 user submissions.

Next time you’re lugging around your heavy digital SLR, think again.


Canon EOS–5D Mark II Dissected

Ever wondered what the Canon EOS–5D Mark II looks like deep inside? Someone was crazy enough to actually do it, with the aim of modifying it into a mirror–less camera optimized for video shooting. Note how the lens mount was also modified to accomodate what appears to be old-school screw–type Pentax lenses.

Bodies Links Product Announcements

New batch of Sony digital SLR cameras unveiled

Sony Alpha 330

Sony has just announced three new digital SLR cameras in the Alpha 230, Alpha 330, and the Alpha 380. All three cameras are equipped with APS–C/DX sized sensors that output at 10, 10, and 14 megapixels. These models also feature in–camera image stabilization that effectively increases the usability of all lenses for their system.

Numerous improvements makes these cameras considerable performers, but with one caveat: none of them can record HD video. In fact, no video recording at all whatsoever. Considering how digital SLRs with video recording are becoming common nowadays, the absence of this feature will surely cost Sony some percentage points in market share.

Sony Alpha 380

Links News

Lumix LX3 Contest


Are you in for some friendly competition? There’s a Lumix LX3 Contest blog that gives away some prizes for the best LX3 Dynamic B&W photos. All you need is an LX3, of course!

Links News P&S Digitals

Best Enthusiast Compact Camera: Lumix LX3!

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3

I knew I wouldn’t regret buying my Lumix LX3, and this just confirms it: best enthusiast compact camera! The Panasonic Lumix DMC–LX3 bests some of the more popular brands and cameras like the Canon Powershot G10 and the Nikon Coolpix P6000 and takes the crown among enthusiast compacts. Nice to see a good camera get noticed by the rest of the industry.

Links Reviews Software

Adobe Photoshop Elements 7 reviewed


Buying a new camera these days usually comes with free software. If you’re lucky enough to get photo editing software to come with it, it will probably be Adobe Photoshop Elements. You won’t be getting full–version Photoshop, that’s for sure, but if you’re lucky you’ll have the more recent Adobe Photoshop Elements 7.

What’s impressive about this new version is that it inherits the feel of Photoshop Lightroom’s interface. Everything is easier to use, in a streamlined workflow.


Editing is straightforward and provides tools for commonly photo editing tasks.

There’s a full review over at PhotographyBLOG, perhaps Adobe Photoshop Elements 7 is what you need.

Bodies Links

Links: Canon EOS-50D


Getting a Nikon, or a Canon?

Are you having a long time deciding which new digital SLR to get for Christmas? Do the Nikon D3 or the D300 seem so inviting, or would you rather have the Canon EOS 40D, or a 5D? Or are you on a budget and would rather get the cheap yet very useful Nikon D40?

This high ISO comparison of various current model SLRs should help you decide. If you’re torn between the D3 and the D300, here’s a breakdown of what makes them the same, and what makes them different.

Remember though that there are more important things to a camera than technical specs and tests.

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Digital SLR Previews

As you may have known, several exciting new digital SLR cameras were released from the Nikon and Canon camps. Good for us, has previews of these new models, giving us an idea just how good they might be once they start shipping.

So here are the links to the previews:

  • Nikon D3, the 12 megapixel full–frame wonder that can do 9 frames per second and ISO 25600. [Preview link]
  • Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III, the flagship model for Canon which used to be untouched in its capabilities in the full–frame segment. [Preview link]
  • Nikon D300, a mid–level offering that slots in just above the D200, providing Nikon pros with a rugged workhorse at a reasonable price. [Preview link]
  • Canon EOS-40D, with 10 megapixels and 9 cross–type AF sensors, this thing can do 6.5 frames per second. A worthy update to Canon’s professional APS–C digital SLR bodies. [Preview link]

Now let’s start dreaming of our next upgrades!


Top 10 Point & Shoot Digital Cameras

DPS has an interesting survey on the top 10 point and shoot digital cameras, listing the following models at the top, according to popularity:

  1. Canon PowerShot S3 IS
  2. Canon Powershot S2 IS
  3. Panasonic DMC-FZ50
  4. Sony Cybershot DSC-H5
  5. Canon PowerShot SD800 IS
  6. Canon Powershot A620
  7. Canon PowerShot S5 IS
  8. Fujifilm Finepix S5200
  9. Canon Powershot SD550
  10. Nikon Coolpix 5400

I edited the descriptions to leave out the model names only. Interestingly, their data shows that Canon has about 41% of the market, with Sony and Fujifilm tied at second place with 14% each. It also shows that image–stabilized models indeed appeal to consumers, with most of the Canons IS–equipped.

Personally, I prefer Canon’s P&S models over the others, though I think Fujifilm’s noise reduction for compact digital models is quite interesting. What about you, what’s your favorite compact digital camera?

Links Tips

Wall–sized posters

Ever wanted to reproduce your photos for large–format, wall–size mounting?

Photojojo shares with us this wonderful site called “Block Posters” which does exactly that, produce several PDF files that you can print in your printer and stitch/join/mount together to result in a poster that can take up wall spaces. Though quality may significantly be lower, these wall posters can still be very eye–catching.

Try it!

Bodies Links News Reviews

Preview: Fujifilm Finepix S5 Pro

Fujifilm Finepix S5 Pro

Fujifilm announced in Photokina 2006 their newest digital SLR, the Fujifilm Finepix S5 Pro. This camera will replace the S3 Pro with lots of improvements and new features. The company has not been up to pace with their development compared to rivals Canon, Nikon, and Sony, though they certainly have a good following backed by the imaging advancements they’ve made in the past few years.

Our friends from LetsGoDigital were able to get their hands on a pre–production sample of the S5 Pro and expectedly, sensor technology and imaging quality are among the Fijifilm body’s strengths. Still, the verdict is wide open especially when compared to the excellent Nikon D200, a direct competitor of the S5 Pro.

Will the Fujifilm Finepix S5 Pro stand out against the rest of the DSLR field? In a few months, we should find out.

Bodies Links Reviews

Nikon D40 Reviewed

Nikon D40 has finally reviewed the Nikon D40, the nice little camera we mentioned just a few weeks ago. This camera is revolutionary for its price with a body–only tag of 499 USD, and 599 USD for the kit version.

The Nikon D40 gets a “Highly Recommended” seal from Phil Askey, with him noting:

One thing which stood out for us when we reviewed the D80 was its responsive performance, the feeling of instant connection between the photographer and the camera. So imagine I was very happy to find that the emphasis on responsiveness has been carried through to the more affordable D40. Indeed apart from a very slightly slower viewfinder blackout and probably slower auto-focus (although not measured) the D40 doesn’t really feel any slower in use and for some functions is actually faster thanks to smaller files.

In many ways, Nikon has progressed much more than Canon for almost a year now. The release of the D200 followed by the D80 and now the entry–level D40 makes them very competitive in almost all levels of the DSLR market. The D40 should further solidify their market share and with a price finally hitting the 500 dollar point, they should remain uncontested at least for a few months. This being a model for first–time DSLR buyers, its shortcomings shouldn’t be a big hindrance since its users will most likely have no prior SLR investments, be it in lenses or other accessories. Will Nikon continue to dominate in 2007?

Commentary Links Photo Samples

Nikon D80 Stunning Gallery

Nikon Stunning Gallery

Just how good is the Nikon D80? Nikon handed 16 different passionate shooters the new Nikon D80, and in return they gave back stunning photos. This is the premise on Nikon’s new site called “Nikon Stunning Gallery,” a very effective marketing move that highlights the strengths of their products.

The Nikon D80 has been an excellent camera especially when compared to other digital SLRs in its price range. Robust performance paired with good photo quality has made it a viable option, to the point where several local shooters have now switched from Canon to Nikon mostly because of the Nikon D80 and the even more capable Nikon D200.

I wouldn’t mind switching to the Nikon D80 if they’d give me the Nikon equivalent of all my lenses, body, and other equipment. Why? Because I believe that right after Canon came out with the Canon EOS 20D, Nikon has dominated the market from almost all levels. The Canon EOS 5D is the only thing that puts Canon in a position of technical advantage.

Now back to the Nikon Stunning Gallery site, have a visit and be amazed at the talent of the crop of photographers that made the Nikon D80 truly their own.

Bodies Links News Product Announcements

Fujifilm announces Finepix S5 Pro

Fujifilm Finepix S5 Pro

FUJIFILM U.S.A., Inc. has recently announced their latest digital SLR, the Finepix S5 Pro. This camera is especially aimed at wedding, portrait, and studio photographers with features specifically useful to the said type of photography. Developed since Photokina 2006, this new Nikon–based body is scheduled to hit the market in February 2007 with a retail price of $1,999.

Further enhancements in Fujifilm’s sensor technology makes this camera a tough contender, especially when it comes to color and image quality. The PR states:

One is an expanded dynamic range from the double pixel technology (6.17 million S-pixels and 6.17 million R-pixels) of the camera’s Super CCD SR Pro sensor that is approximately 400% wider than that of a CCD working on a single-pixel design. In addition, the FinePix S5 Pro goes a step further by coupling the new Super CCD SR Pro sensor with Fujifilm’s new RP Processor Pro for smoother tonality from brightest light to the darkest shadows. An ISO equivalent sensitivity of 3200 is also available on the FinePix S5 Pro, thanks to the RP Processor Pro technology.

Face detection technology is another feature for this new camera. This feature is now steadily making it to consumer compact digitals though not in digital SLRs; perhaps the Finepix S5 Pro is one of the first bodies to sport this consumer–friendly technology.

Fujifilm’s article on this product release also boasts of improvements in ergonomics, weather sealing, and a 100,000–cycle shutter mechanism. Familiar? Of course, I think the Finepix S5 Pro is essentially a Nikon D200 fitted with Fujifilm’s imaging sensor and electronics. Just like previous incarnations of Fujifilm’s S-series professional bodies. This camera will likely be a favorite of portrait photographers if Fujifilm manages to improve on their already good color and image rendition. Reportedly however, just like the models before it, the Finepix S5 Pro is rumored to have the same sluggish performance that may be a little slower compared to today’s digital SLRs, even against the entry–level offerings from Sony, Nikon, and Canon. Will the Finepix S5 Pro make significant strides into the digital SLR market? We should see in the next few months, though I wouldn’t be expecting much.

Links P&S Digitals Product Announcements

Canon Powershot A710 IS

Canon Powershot A710 IS

One of the hottest cameras on right now is the Canon Powershot A710 IS, currently fourth on their popularity list. Priced at $399, the inclusion of Canon’s image stabilization technology makes it one of the better choices in the market today. Here are some of the notable features of the camera according to’s article:

  • 7.1 megapixel CCD sensor
  • 2.5 inch LCD
  • 6x optical zoom with image stabilization
  • Safety zoom – digital zoom with losing image quality
  • Digital Tele-converter – emulates having a tele-converter attached to the camera
  • Exposure modes: auto, program auto, shutter priority, aperture priority, full manual, and complement of scene modes
  • 9 point AiAF autofocus system
  • capture 640×480 (VGA) movies at 30 fps up to 36 minutes long with 4GB SDHC media
  • MyColors features can now be applied after capturing, where previously they were applied at the capture time

If you’re looking for a reasonably priced camera for the Christmas season, the Canon Powershot A710 IS should be one of the better choices.

Bodies Links News Product Announcements Rumors

Is this the Nikon D40?

Nikon D40

Just a few days ago, several photos were leaked on the web on what is supposed to be Nikon’s latest digital SLR, the Nikon D40. This new camera is positioned to take the place of the budget D50, the lowest model on Nikon’s DSLR lineup. Price is expected at around $499 for the body only, with the kit going for $599. The kit will include the G-II version of the 18-55mm which was featured in the D50.

The Nikon D40 has a 2.5 inch LCD that has been very common for all recent cameras. It will have the same 6.1 megapixel CCD from the D50 and an ISO range of 200 to 3200. Despite having just 3 AF points and lesser dedicated controls at the back of the camera, this should be a bestseller especially if it pops up at the rumored price. 500 dollars for a digital SLR body — times are good for us digital enthusiasts!

Compatibility with older Nikkor lenses (those not designated AF-S) is one of the D40’s downsides, though this wouldn’t be much of a limitation for first–time DSLR users, the target market of this camera. For the casual shooter just toying with the DSLR idea, the Nikon D40 should be a good match. But for those with a more serious plan and looking forward to more options in terms of accessories and lenses, the Nikon D80 should be of better value.

For a more thorough analysis of this new Nikon offering, Ken Rockwell’s article on the Nikon D40 should prove to be very helpful. By the way, have you noticed that Nikon seems to be producing better cameras for the past few months? Somehow it feels like my Canon EOS D60 wants to pair up with a Nikon D80. ;) Though seriously, a two–system approach to camera gear is almost impossible unless you’re a seasoned pro with a fat paycheck. And even professionals at the highest level rarely do a Canon + Nikon gear lineup. Just not possible, financially and especially emotionally. ;)