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Sony A7s – The Best Mirrorless Camera to Date?

It’s that time of year again when I get a chance to catch up and refresh my gear and software. First on the list this December was the Sony A7s, a 12 megapixel sensor-ed camera with outstanding low light capabilities and very high quality HD and UHD video. It arrived today to go with recently […]

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Monochromes from the Dali Museum in St Petersburg Florida

While in St Petersburg on a first time visit to this part of south west Florida, we had the opportunity to visit the Dali Museum. Now, I’ve seen quite a bit of Mr Dali’s work at various museums around the world over the years, but this venue houses what is probably the most comprehensive collection […]

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Sunday Stroll with the Sony RX100

Just happened to turn around at the right moment while I was photographing some Classic Cars at the local Village Green in Croxley. Caught a nice moment with this trio strolling along – well more like ambling across the Green on a rather chilly Sunday afternoon. Shot with the RX100 at f5.6, 1/125sec at ISO […]

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Easily Upgrading a MacBook Pro 17″ Laptop with OWC Solid State Drives

How to Upgrade your 17″ MacBook Pro; give it more memory, blindingly quick, solid state drives and three more years of very much faster working life – in three easy steps! When Apple announced, or shall I say sheepishly whispered, it was no longer offering a 17″ model, I was mortified! ‘Twas Upgrade Time and […]

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Nikon Df and Zeiss Lenses – Superb Sensor and Sensational Lens Combination?

Like many photographers of late I’ve been reviewing the most recent crop of cameras. I’ve been using the Leica M9 for three years now, on and off, and love it for what it is, but the fact remains that, while I love the images I can create with it, the sensor is now somewhat behind […]

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Jason Yu - April 10, 2014 - 2:16 pm

Nikon Df recalls my memory to Nikon FM2, they look similar in appearance.DF is a nice digital camera,it has metallic mechanical dials,and it’s a smallest and lightest FX-format body ,great camera!

Sony A7R Shutter Vibration Issues

If, like me, you’ve been contemplating the latest full frame sensor cameras from Sony, you might just be interested in Lloyd Chambers’ (and others) work testing the performance of the A7R. He has produced evidence that the A7R has a problem with its shutter mechanism design which, under certain shooting conditions with longer focal length […]

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Chuck Jones - February 23, 2014 - 12:57 am

Hi Michael!
Hey, sorry if my article put you off of the A7R. That was not my intent in our authoring and publishing it. I use my A7R daily, and I love the little camera. This small problem is confined to a narrow window of operation, so fairly easy to overcome in most circumstances.

You should give the A7R another chance sometime dude ;=)

Warmest Regards,
Chuck Jones

Mike - March 1, 2014 - 4:46 am

Actually Chuck, no, you didn’t put me off. I had already reached that conclusion before reading your articles. I still bought the A7, but I’ve been so tied up with other stuff I’ve only had a chance to shoot with the Nikon Df, which has turned out to be a winner; great sensor – odd camera! As far as the A7R is concerned, I’ll wait for the next iteration.

Dick de Vries - July 7, 2014 - 8:03 am

If you have a problem with a camera you can return it for repair. I have the a7r with the 55mm Zeiss and I have not had any of problems described in this article. I have used the camera intensively for six months now and saw no problems at all. Things can spin out of control fast on the internet, so I always try to take these messages with a grain of salt.

Mike - December 15, 2014 - 6:42 pm

Well, thanks for your view Dick. As you say, things can get out of hand on the internet, but that ‘noise’ didn’t prevent me from purchasing an A7, which I did and took with me to a photographic workshop in Havana this summer. Straight out of the box the A7 performed wonderfully – quite a testament to its ‘ease-of-use’in reality – no manuals required! So, even the ‘noise’ about its unhelpful menu structures turns out to be exaggerated. I’ve been very pleased with my A7, so much so that I’ve also invested in the A7s.

Photoshop CS6 and Beyond – To Cloud or Not to Cloud – Is there an Alternative?

Like many photographers, I was shocked at Adobe’s attitude to their users over the cessation of perpetual installs of their Photoshop software after version CS6. Lloyd Chambers, on his widely read and much respected blog, was particularly incensed over their ‘take it or leave it’ attitude and it wasn’t only cost that was an issue. […]

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DxO Film Pack Review of Agfa Scala 200x Monochrome Rendering

DxO have just released version 4.5 of their Film Pack monochrome conversion plugin. I’d been looking for an alternative to Silver Efex Pro V2, which can often produce rather harsh conversions, so I was intrigued by this latest monochrome rendering option which DxO call Agfa Scala 200x. DxO claims this rendering offers a wide range […]

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Alun Carr - December 8, 2013 - 11:36 pm

If you have both DxO Optics Pro and Film Pack installed, you can actually carry out the B&W conversion *within* Optics Pro, without exporting a developed raw file then importing it into that standalone Film Pack.

Mike - January 12, 2014 - 1:39 pm

Hi Alun. Thanks for stopping by. Yes, I think I did say that’s how I had used the preset. I now you can also use the pack outside of DxO Optics Pro, but I only use it as a plugin.

Street Photography with a Sony RX100 ‘Candid’ Compact Camera

One of the best camera bargains to be had right now is the diminutive but power-packed Sony RX100 Mk1; now reduced in price due to the introduction of its Mk II successor. This camera is an absolute gem. If, like me, you want to shoot what used to be called Candid Photography – now ‘Street […]

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Sony RX100 – Pocket Rocket and Candid Camera

I’ve been looking for the ultimate in lightweight, pocket-able cameras to carry with me all the time. Being quality conscious, I wanted a camera with as large a sensor as possible that supported enough resolution to be able to crop images to order, particularly if the attached zoom lens was not of particularly long focal […]

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Storm Dawn in Florida Split Tone

I tried again with this image, this time taking a very different approach. First I developed the Nikon P7700 RAW file in DxO Optics Pro V8, which produced a more three dimensional colour rendering than the Camera Raw / Photoshop effort below. I saved the rendered image as a 16bit TIFF file then opened it […]

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Storm Dawn in Florida via Silver Efex Pro V2

It’s been a long time coming but I finally found an image I wanted to try in Silver Efex Pro V2. I’ve never tried a sunrise before in monochrome so this was an interesting challenge. I started with a fairly dramatic ‘full structure’ preset and dialed it back pretty severely, but I didn’t need many […]

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Silver Efex Pro Version 2 now available

Nik Software has finally released Version 2 of its popular Silver Efex Pro application for converting colour images into black and white work. Having used version one for some time, I’ve been eagerly awaiting this upgrade and will be putting it through its paces over the next few weeks. There are many new features in […]

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Capture One Pro 6 Head to Head with Lightroom 3 for Monochrome Work

After I completed my earlier review of Capture On Pro 6 in a black and white conversion test with Silver Efex Pro, I had some feedback from several people who asked me to add Lightroom 3 into the mix to see how converting the same RAW file would work out by comparison with the other […]

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Capture One Pro 6 Versus Silver Efex Pro for Monochrome Work

This review is a follow on from my earlier ‘First Impressions’ article looking at Capture One Pro RAW processor’s new Black and White conversion capabilities in their latest, Version 6, release. In this fuller review, I’ve compared it directly with an equivalent workflow in Adobe Camera Raw 6 with Photoshop CS5 and the popular Silver […]

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Capture One Pro 6 for Black and White Photography First Impressions

Relatively hot on the heels of version 5, Phase One have just released version 6 of Capture One RAW processor. My work is predominantly monochrome at present, so I was very interested to learn that the developers have improved the black and white conversion workflow of this new release. For the first time, the release […]

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[…] this kind of work in C1, that they could share? I have my first impressions in a mini-post at Capture One Pro 6 for Black and White Photography First Impressions Has anyone else tried its new B&W facilities? Mike __________________ You are most […]

Hel - January 20, 2011 - 10:20 pm

As for the gondolas, obviously, blacks and reflection have much more density and totally noise-free in CS5 version. Much better, clearly.

Zeiss 85mm f2 ZM Sonnar Lens Review – Revised and Extended

This is a revised and extended version of my Zeiss 85mm Sonnar lens review article which was originally published on Steve Huff’s excellent photography blog in December 2010. I’ve included more images and new technical content gained from further research on the lens and also added some full size image download options for those who […]

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Leica M9 with Zeiss ZM 85mm Sonnar Lens Review

My initial review of the Zeiss 85mm Sonnar lens for the Leica M9 Rangefinder camera was published as a guest article by Steve Huff on his very popular photography blog at SteveHuffPhoto. His site specialises in equipment reviews and articles on a wide range of cameras, but is a particularly excellent resource for information on […]

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11 Inch MacBook Air and Leica M9 – Perfect Partners?

First off let me say that I’m a WinMac LeicaNik guy. What does that mean? That means that, up to very recently, I used Nikon DSLRs and Windows computers running Photoshop exclusively. A few months ago I decided that I’d had enough of lugging two Nikon bodies, umpteen heavy lenses, a Windows 7 computer and […]

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Steve Hoge - December 18, 2010 - 1:11 am

Great review! I’m going to send it along to my PC-centric buddies. And BTW, Anand over at Anandtech will probably appreciate it if you correct your misspelling of his site name.

Les Picker - December 18, 2010 - 4:39 pm

Thank you for the informative review. I was referred from Bob Boyer’s excellent site. Due to the two positive reviews I am purchasing a 13″ MacBook Air right after the Xmas rush is over.

Best wishes,


blog site:

Mike - December 18, 2010 - 5:06 pm

Whoops! Thank you Steve for stopping by and for spotting my error, which I’ve fixed now. Hope your PC buddies find it useful. I’m a very happy convert. I still have to use Windows a lot for business, but I’m using the Macs more and more as I get more used to the differences and the benefits.

Steve, I’ve just spent a fascinating half hour reviewing your flicker photo collection and was truly humbled by your cycling tour of India with your wife. Excellent work and a fascinating trip. You’ve really inspired my desire to return to India and reacquaint myself with that amazing country. Many Thanks for dropping by. :-)

Mike - December 19, 2010 - 10:58 am

Les, thank you for your visit. Glad to be of service. I visted your site this morning and was very impressed with your ‘Favorites’ and ‘Waterscapes’ collections. Very fine work indeed. :-)

Roger Overall - December 29, 2010 - 8:48 pm

Hi Michael,

A timely article for me – thank you.

I was looking at the MacBook Air range a couple of days ago in a local Apple shop and really did like the look of the 11″ as a travel companion on location/overseas shoots.

At the same time, I’m thinking of switching from Canon to Leica, though I have to admit that my initial (granted short) trials with the M9 haven’t impressed me from a handling and viewfinder point of view. I have a more rigorous trial in mind for 2011.

Thanks for a very useful post.


Miah - January 2, 2011 - 2:15 am

A fair and straight talk insight on using this laptop as a tool…. thank you Miah

Payam - September 3, 2012 - 10:51 am

Thanks , yeah , Mac book air that is . Apple does it better .

Leica Gallery on iPad and iPhone

The Leica Fotographie International Galleries are now online with a recently updated application for both the iPad and the iPhone. The galleries have a very broad range of excellent photographic contributions by photographers from all over the world. It’s a great place to seek or renew your inspiration, whether you are a colour worker or […]

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