Sunday, January 14, 2018

A Sunday Drive 2018 Subaru Crosstrek and the Fujfilm X10

A Sunday Drive, the 2018 Subaru Crosstrek and Fujfilm X10
January 2018, Carl Garrard

2017 was a challenging and difficult year, both for those I love and for myself personally. I'm sure there would  be relative testimony from many of my readers about last year as well. I'm particularly glad it's behind all of us. But, although time is a man made idea, sometimes it seems a new year can bring good luck and fortune. This year, although in its beginnings, has been the best start to a year that I can recall in some time, it feels like its a year of healing after licking some wounds. And thus a good Sunday morning drive can be a great way to take some time to reflect on all the good things we have in our lives, and see some natural beauty too. That was my morning today and yesterday, whilst driving my newly acquired 2018 Subaru Crosstrek and the Fujifilm X10 as my companion.
Fujifilm X10 Current Used Prices

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Fujifilm X-T1- Beauty, Handsomeness, and Incredibly Chiseled Features

Fujifilm X-T1- Beauty, Handsomeness, and Incredibly Chiseled Features
January 2018, Carl Garrard

When I unboxed Fujifilms X-T1, the first thing I thought of  was Hansel's (Owen Wilson's) line in Zoolander (yes really).  This is one beautiful and supremely well designed camera that you'll be at home with either on the street, at a modeling shoot, or even at Mount Vesuvius. There really are only two types of cameras that get photographers hearts pumping these days- beautiful looking rangefinder (styled) cameras, and the classic SLR (style) cameras. Both types imbue an adrenaline based Starbucks cocktail mixture of emotions. Those emotions include: a dose of fond personal memories, a dab of historical significance, a warmed heart, and all mixed together with a little sprinkle of lust. Wherein Leica have pretty much nailed down the most beautiful rangefinders cameras of all, Fujifilm, at least in my eyes, have taken the award for the  most beautiful SLR style digital camera of all. The Graphite version of the XT1 (or XT2), in person, is the most handsome SLR, or DSLR style camera I've ever seen. Pictures simply don't do it justice, you do really have to see it in person to believe it. For serious.

Fujifilm X-T1 Graphite Version, Best Current Price

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Mystery Camera Review- Series 1

Mystery Camera Review- Series 1
December 2017, Carl Garrard

MCR #1: This review is the first in a series of a new type of camera review (we will do lenses too) wherein I'll discuss only the image quality, usability, and some key features of the camera. There will be enough information in the review that you'll probably end up being able to discern the product name eventually, but the whole point here is solely on what the image quality can look like and how much I enjoy using the camera. Images shared in this review will be screen shots only from my 1080p HD monitor (no exif peeking!). It is not a challenge to guess the type of camera, but rather to see what can be done with the camera. Today, we have so many cameras available that produce excellent image quality, it is simply time to focus on how intuitive and fun a camera can be to use. No, the reflected image isn't the camera I used in this article, the fuzzy squarish thing around it, is.


Saturday, December 23, 2017

Sony Alpha A100 DSLR Review - Looking Back

Sony Alpha A100 DSLR Review - Looking Back 
December 2017, Carl Garrard
Wrapping up 2017 here is a short tribute to a camera that I was (and still am) very fond of. Back in 2006, when in my digital 'career' I decided to graduate from fixed lens cameras such as the Sony V3, F828, and Sony R1, to a DSLR platform. I had to choose if I was going to stick with the Sony brand I was familiar with  or start fresh with a completely new DSLR brand. Sony cameras had helped me kick start a very decent fine art sales income back then. I felt comfortable using the brand and was more than happy with the quality of images coming from them. So, when Sony made an exciting announcement (on the heels of a sad Konica Minolta announcement) of acquiring the Konica Minolta camera division in late 2005, it pretty much was a no brainer that I'd end up purchasing their very first DSLR.

Sony Alpha A100 BEST PRICE BODY ONLY

Friday, December 15, 2017

Fujifilm XQ2 Review- More Than A Surprise Bargain

Fujifilm XQ2 Review- More Than A Surprise Bargain
December 2017, Carl Garrard
Fujifilm XQ2 Review- Fujifilms XQ2 is a sub-compact camera for enthusiast photographers. In its small shell it houses a bright f/1.8-4.9 wide angle 25-100mm 4x zoom lens, a 12mp 2/3" sized X-Trans II sensor (with raw capture), full HD video, wireless control and image transfer, a tempered glass rear screen, and much more. It's a lot of power you can put in your pocket, and it is just slightly smaller than a deck of playing cards. For those who like to travel light, but won't compromise such options as mentioned, this is a bargain camera that you ought to take a look at. After all it's at stocking stuffer used prices these days. There is more too this camera though, as noted in my abbreviated format review.



Fujifilm XQ2 Current Best Price

Sunday, December 10, 2017

A Tribute to the Light Bulb

A Tribute to the Light Bulb 
December 2017, Carl Garrard
A week ago today, the light bulb pictured here burned out. It was part of a gift I received in the Christmas of 2005 from my mother. A gift that ended up illuminating my daughters room nearly every waking day of her 6 years of being alive so far. The soft red glow of the lava lamp, has put her to ease and given her countless nights of perfect sleep. It's funny how a light bulb means so much to me now that it is extinguished. Yet the more I thought about how important it really is, the more I realized I had to pay tribute to it. This is the story of the light bulb, one that lasted almost exactly eleven years before it finally gave up.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Fujifilm X-E3 Preview

Fujifilm X-E3 Preview
November 2017, Carl Garrard
Fujifilm X-E3 Preview: If you found this article, then you probably like rangefinder cameras. Fujifilm's X-E3 offers a host of progressive upgrade of capabilities over the X-E2 series, and a couple of trade offs. If Fujifilms best image quality matters most, then likely it's going to be a camera you'll want. I'll be updating my blog with a detailed head to head comparison between the X-E2 and X-E3 in my full review, but this article is a quick but informative run down on it's design. (If you'd like to donate here you can, or check the price at Amazon below, even if you don't buy one it really helps me out!)


Fujifilm X-E3 Best Current Price

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Fujifilm X-E2 Review II- Authentic Rangefinder Experience?

Fujifilm X-E2 Review II- Authentic Rangefinder Experience?
October 2017, Carl Garrard

Fujifilm X-E2 Review II: When I wrote my original review on the Fujifilm X-E2 some time ago, the review was prepared from the typical  prosumer stand point. This review will be much different. Back then, the X-E2 was also a much higher price and in higher demand, but today they can be found in like new condition or new for a steal in comparison. Lately I've been in search of cameras for my readers that are better suited for manual control photography, but more specifically one that could mimic a rangefinder shooting experience without paying for a full priced Leica M system. Sound impossible? Fujifilm's X-E2 at least on paper, seems be an ideal and affordable option for just this task (if you don't mind the 1.5x crop factor) . This review is based on using the X-E2 with the very latest firmware (v.4.01) in manual modes only for the purpose of mimicking a rangefinder system camera. If you want a general perspective on the X-E2 (prior it's comprehensive firmware update) go here: Fujifilm X-E2 review.  Spoiler alert: The new firmware has been quite a surprise and makes the X-E2 a whole new experience.

Fujifilm X-E2 Body Only (Used and New)

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Canon EOS 80D Review

Canon EOS 80D Review
October 2017, Carl Garrard

Canon's EOS 80D Review: Canon as a company, seems to have taken a huge leap forward with the 80D. Not only has Canon's semi-conductor division created a new sensor for the 80D that is much more competitive in the marketplace, it seems to have exceeded in image quality and overall performance than any other Canon branded APS-C sized sensors before it. Yet, it seems the value of what you get overall in the EOS 80D is extraordinary. This camera seems to be loaded. If you took most of the best features of its competitors that Canon has lacked, added the better sensor of its competitors, and put them all in an easy to use and versatile Canon camera body- you'd probably get a Canon EOS 80D. And while Canon still isn't offering 4K video in this body, there's no denying its value as a video device based on its features for the dollar. But value is always in the eye of the beholder. Let's get this review started.



Canon EOS 80D BEST DISCOUNTED INTERNATIONAL PRICE
Canon EOS 80D BEST NEW PRICE

Saturday, October 7, 2017

A Special Shout Out to Our First Donation!

Just a quick thank you for your thoughtful and gracious donation to the website. This the first donation PC has received yet.  And you know who you are :).  Also thank you to others for the support of the site in general. -C

Thursday, September 28, 2017

We Need Followers!

PC Readers: First of all, a sincere thanks to all of you who tune into our website. As you may have noticed lately, there is an uptick in the momentum of articles being published here for our readership. We need momentum, and you can help! If you would be so kind as to "follow" this site, it would help us greatly. And feel free to please share our website with friends too, this will also help us and doesn't require any funds to do so. A little help will go a very long way!

You can follow our site by simply clicking the blue follow button in the right hand column under the followers section. We'd be much obliged if you do! Any help you give us here, comes back to the site to help you as well. We believe the teamwork mentality really pays off for all.

Thanks again for reading and sharing. It's much appreciated, more than you know.

Stay focused.

-Carl Garrard

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Canon EF 24-70mm F/4L IS USM Review

Canon EF 24-70mm F/4L IS USM Review
September 2017, Carl Garrard

Canon EF 24-70mm F/4L IS USM Review- Not many DSLR lenses encourage me these days as much as the affordable, weather resistant, macro capable, excellently built Canon EF 24-70mm f/4L IS USM. From the quality of the boxing to my pixel peeping scrutinized shots, this zoom lens is very impressive and versatile for its price. Built quality is L level phenomenal, speed of focus is fast, its macro capability is a big bonus and nearly unheard of in this category. It seems to pair nearly perfectly with the Canon EOS 6D- it's size, weight, weatherproofing, and handling is dynamite on this body. It may not have the mid telephoto range of the older/newer 24-105 f/4L (II), but, image quality is better (especially distortions). It's also more compact, has much better macro capability, and it's nearly the same price as the older 24-105 f/4L model at about $749.00-$899.00 USD. Used copies are available for a bit lower, but there aren't too many of those yet. Read on to hear what my thoughts are on this lens. These days I'm shooting less with DSLR's, but this lens needed to be reviewed here for my readers.





Canon EF 24-70mm f/4.0L BEST CURRENT PRICE

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Ricoh GR II Review

Ricoh GR II Review
September 2017, Carl Garrard
Ricoh GR II Review- No, I'm not late reviewing a camera that was announced in 2015 or anything (ducks for cover)... I mean, its only been two years plus since Ricoh announced it, and I'm just now finally getting around to reviewing the GR II. I will get a pass from my friends at Ricoh though, since they know I've always been a fan of Ricoh cameras in the past. Considering that I've personally met with a few friendly Ricoh representatives from Japan long before they purchased Pentax, and, that I've owned every digital GR model made, I thought I ought to at least dedicate some time for a short review on the latest GR here. And with the review I'll include some notes on this camera that haven't really been mentioned  before in other online publications. Note that this review is solely based on using the GR II with latest firmware v3.00, which few reviews were based on. Ricoh's are some of my favorite cameras in the world. Lets see how I like the newer GR II.


Ricoh GR II Digital BEST NEW PRICE

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Leica M9 Rangefinder Review (Diary Part II)

Leica M9 Rangefinder Review (Diary Part II)
September 2017, Carl Garrard

Leica M9, Voigtlander 35mm f/1.7 Ultron (Image shot with M8)
Leica M9 Rangefinder Review: Since I've decided to switch to a rangefinder as my main camera system, life has been simpler. My creativity along with my passion for photography, seem in full swing again. Sometimes I reflect with a heavy heart when I realize that I almost lost both of those vital components that make photography so special to me. All of my life I've understood the value of a less is more philosophy, but as I get into more mature years I realize the rewards of living your life that way. Since publishing my M8 article I've been active. I've been making new contacts, having discussions with other passionate like-minded photographers, planning more, and looking forward to my next photo outings. I continue to hone my technique using a rangefinder camera. For those of you who are considering getting into rangefinders with a limited budget, this article will serve as a practical point of view when comparing the Leica M9 with the Leica M8. In a way, this is really a part II to my M8 article. This is my fourth rangefinder article here, and likely won't be the last.
Leica M9 Best Current Price

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Photo of the Week: RSM Sunrise (Hurricane Lidia)

Photo of the Week: RSM Sunrise (Hurricane Lidia)
September 2017, Carl Garrard
This photo was a quick grab with my Canon 6D early in the morning when remnants of Hurricane Lidia reached us from Southern Baja, California. I took several shots in the morning with two cameras, my Leica M8 and the Canon 6D. I realized later on that my clock on my 6D is one day ahead. Both were shot on the same morning, you can see the clouds are the same in the central area. Interesting how both cameras rendered the scene so much differently. I think I'm going to have to go with the Canon 6D shot here as being my favorite, perhaps because of the wider 24mm vs. 45mm perspective of the M8, and richer mid tones. I wanted to share my favorite sunrise I've taken all year with two different cameras.



Canon EOS 6D (BEST CURRENT PRICE)

Monday, September 4, 2017

Leica M8 Rangefinder- Diary of Realigned Obsession

Leica M8 Rangefinder- Diary of Realigned Obsession
September 2017, Carl Garrard

Today's article reveals a personal confession of a past gear obsession and a subsequent simultaneous realignment of priorities. This article is more about photography than a review of a camera, but we'll get into that in a bit. My purpose here with publishing this article is that I hope to echo some thoughts and struggles of other photographers, and that by way of having honest disclosure to you. In short, I’m sharing because I care about the world of photography in which we thrive. Like us all, I am human and just as susceptible to making disadvantageous choices once in a while. In this article I reveal my thoughts on newer camera gear, why I've decided to simplify my main camera system, and why ultimately I chose a rangefinder such as the Leica M8 for this task.



Leica M8 Best Used Price

Monday, August 21, 2017

Friday, July 28, 2017

Panasonic Lumix DC-ZS70K Review - The Pocket FZ1000

Panasonic Lumix DC-ZS70K Review- The Pocket FZ1000
July 2017, Carl Garrard

So I'm out and about on a hike recently shooting with one of my favorite compacts, and I run into a pretty rare bird of prey that lands on a branch not too far on the other side of the hill from me. I sneak up and find him, get him sighted on my camera and zoom all the way in. I make a few shots of the Coopers Hawk. I know full well that I don't have the zoom range with this camera to get close enough for an excellent shot, but at least ill be able to crop the image later and document him. After I post the image online, I'm thinking, well... it would be really nice to have a  small compact camera with a longer zoom that I could grab much closer shots of this bird with. It was time to look at the market again and see what I could find out there. More of the story continued...
Panasonic DC-ZS70K Lumix Amazon Best Price

Monday, July 10, 2017

NIKON D7200 Review- PC's First Nikon DSLR Review

NIKON D7200 Review- PC's First Nikon DSLR Review
July 2017- Carl Garrard

For no logical reason, I just haven't got around to doing a Nikon DSLR review here just yet. Regardless, I've used a few Nikon DSLR's here and there, and I'm pretty familiar with the system overall. However, as prices came down and the new D500 and D7500 were announced, I realized that Nikon still had a top performing second generation APS-C DSLR that should get some light on our website. I like to write reviews about cameras that are a great price or bang for the buck and report them to you. As I see it, there's no APS-C DSLR out there today that can give you better image quality, or a such a stacked feature set for its current market price. As camera manufacturers reach the point of diminishing returns on features for new cameras, value for the dollar continues to increase for cameras that are only one or two generations older, and still available new. So if you are like me, and buy 2nd or 3rd generation tech to save some cash (while still preserving your needs in a device), this review is for you!
Nikon D7200 Best Current Amazon Price

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Full Spectrum Photography With The Sony RX10

Full Spectrum Photography With The Sony RX10
May 2017, Carl Garrard

Photo Courtesy: Spencers Camera
So hello all! With some desire to create of late, I've set out on a new personal photographic project. The project I've started is one of making images that stretch my comfort level and imagination. My goal in part I suppose, is to make images that are less common than what we are all used to seeing on a daily basis. We humans in the civilized world are awash in constant stimulus, images, and distractions everywhere around us. My hope, and part of my goal, is to create images that sooth the feeling of  constant bombardment, and can momentarily give us a rest from all the hyper over-stimulation. Images I hope, that can give us pause, help us relax and see things in literally a different light. Images that make us wonder and guess at their subject type, and also to stretch our idea of what reality really is. I've even dedicated a small sub-blog to this goal, called Project Impulse (www.project-impulse.blogspot.com).

Sony DSCRX10/B Best Amazon Price

Friday, March 3, 2017

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX100 Review- The Modernist's Rangefinder

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX100 Review- The Modernist's Rangefinder
March 2017- Carl Garrard


Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX100 Review: Getting excited about a camera design these days doesn't happen that often around here. I guess I'm a bit numb to the fact that there are so many similar models being produced with very few practical differences. Only some cameras really stand out as unique and different. Panasonic's LX100 is far from being a boring copy of a copy, and instead the LX100 is a unique and appealing proposition in the camera market for serious photographers. Even though it's been out for more than two years, and I'm sure a successor is due soon at some point, the LX100 stands out to me as the most capable camera for it's size of any digital camera offered today as of the date of this article. Panasonic's LX100 also has a quite lovely looking design if utility and practicality are your idea of style and grace (it's offered in black or silver). This review will be published in parts, I'll update the article as I go.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX100 Very Low Price!

Monday, February 27, 2017

Panasonic Lumix G Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 12-60mm f/2.8-4 Lens Review

Panasonic Lumix G Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 12-60mm f/2.8-4 Lens Review
February 2017, Carl Garrard

Panasonic Lumix G Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 12-60mm f/2.8-4 Lens Review: As lens names grow longer and longer, so too does the list of features and quality you get for your money these days. Panasonic's Leica DG 12-60mm f/2.8-4 Vario-Elmarit is the first in a new high quality series of zoom lenses they are offering this year. Basically, they are high end Leica zoom lenses for less money than .. uh... Leica's Leica lenses. Um, anyways, so yeah it's a premium high end zoom lens with freeze proof weather sealing, fast 9 blade aperture, all metal construction, and built in image stabilization. Add that this lens is super quick focusing with a very quiet focusing mechanism, and you just might have one of the most versatile zooms made for any lens mount currently on the market. At $998.00 retail, you'll pay the price for it too. And I could care less about the price for what I'm getting. So lets see just how good this lens really is. If you want to check the latest price at any given time, well, see below.
Panasonic Leica DG 12-60mm f/2.8-4

Monday, November 21, 2016

SONY PS4 PRO REVIEW

Sony PS4 Pro Review- SHOUT OUT TIME! :)
This is a me sharing a review unrelated to photography moment, however, we all have other hobbies I'm sure! Sorry it's not a camera review this time, but if you like gaming as much as me, I'm sure you'll appreciate me posting this excellent short review from a dear friend of mine on the Sony PS4 Pro. I won't spoil it, so read and enjoy! (Fyi, new camera reviews are being worked on, I promise...). Latest price below, and link to review click on "read more".

Sony PlayStation 4 Pro - 1TB

Monday, July 18, 2016

Leica M Typ 262 Review- Old, Meet New

Leica M Typ 262 Review- Old, Meet New
July 2016, Carl Garrard
Leica's M Type 262 is a 24mp stills only rangefinder camera. It boasts a glass LCD screen, weather sealing, quiet shutter, huge bright viewfinder with accurate frame lines, forged aluminum top plate and brass lower plate, refined menu system, and a simple and pure design that keeps to a more traditional Leica philosophy. Currently it's priced about mid range for Leica M's, and yes that is still a wallet full of money. Regardless, it might be the best money spent on a Leica rangefinder if it suits your needs. This is a simple beast that oozes tradition, yet the modern sensor and menu system give it a breath of fresh air. Take a look further.

Leica M (Typ 262) Current Best Price

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Canon Rebel EOS T2i (550D) Review- A Rebel That Spoiled Future Rebels

Canon EOS Rebel T2i (550D) Review- A Rebel That Spoiled Future Rebels
July 2016, Carl Garrard
Always a fan of smaller yet capable DSLR's its hard to argue for a better option than Canon's Rebel series. Sure, you can find features in some other brands that aren't available in the Rebels, but as an all rounder option with features that count, Rebels are best sellers for many reasons. My 6D is probably the best all round full frame DSLR out there for the price, but I still desire something smaller, lighter, and with a crop factor that gives me certain advantages. In short, I wanted a smaller DSLR to compliment my 6D, that gave me the best compact DSLR camera for the price. Enter then my choice for the Canon Rebel EOS T2i (or 550D). With so many newer models out there, why would I chose the T2i when there are eight newer models released since? That answer can be best summed up as personal preference for a more simple design, but it's more than that as I will outline in this review.

Canon's EOS Rebel T2i (550D) - On Amazon (Multiple Sellers)

Monday, April 4, 2016

Fujifilm X100T Review

Fujifilm X100T Review
March 2016, Carl Garrard
You were curious for another opinion on the X100T, so, here you go. I, like yourself, was also curious about the X100T. As a photographer, I prefer to have small, medium, and large equipment that tends to mesh with my shooting style and photographic sensibilities. Confident in my equipment needs, these days I can tell in about five minutes with a camera if I'm going to like it or not. With the X100T I knew right when I unpackaged it, it was a camera I'd .... probably like. Why probably? Good question, but the answer isn't really simple and I'll admit I'm not easy to please! Curiosity got the better of me however, and it was time to give this very popular camera a try.


Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Upcoming Reviews Update

Upcoming Reviews Update
March 2016, Carl Garrard
So you saw that I decided to review the Leica V-Lux Typ 114 and loved it (more than Panasonic's version too). Can't say the same thing about the Canon EOS M3 unfortunately. It quite frankly was a pretty boring camera. So off it went back to whence it came. Canon needs to do more work on the mirrorless lineup. While it was interesting enough to trial, it wasn't interesting enough to want to review- time is indeed valuable for me. So.... what's next? Let's take a stab at Fujifilm shall we? How about the X100T ?