Nikon D3s vs D800 vs GX85

So…  Why older tech? Because right now, you can purchase a D3s for around $1400 USD. It has 9 FPS with constant AF. What other 35mm Full Frame can be purchased at this time for that price?

Fuji XT2 is fast, but the lag on the EVF is cumbersome when doing high speed action. You have to get familiar with it, I couldn’t. Sony cameras? not good for high speed action AF.

There is a market for High End DSLR and thats mostly photo journalists that rely on the impressive AF that these cameras have.

I believe I’m mastering the low noise high ISO at 25600, look at these files and see for yourself, they don’t look as bad as most people have around the web.

I will be making a comparison to a Sony A7sII and Nikon D3s.



Micro Four Thirds – 5 Generations

I was one of those who rushed in 2009 to get an Olympus E-P1 camera. It looked vintage, was small and offered great image quality compared to others in the size category. In fact, the photos were sharper than what I was getting with my Nikon D100. Seems the lenses were sharper than the Nikon lenses I had at the time. Fast forward to 2017 and I am mostly a Leica shooter but many times find myself wanting that portable autofocus system and 5 axis IS. I’ve shot with the EPL1, E-P2, E-P3, E-P5 and two of the Panasonic Lumix cameras such as the GX8 and GX85. As always, if camera manufactures just merged techs and menus to create the ultimate camera, we would probably still want more changes. So, how does a camera from 2009 compares to one in 2017.


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Olympus 2009 vs Panasonic 2017

As far as highlights, I get almost the same range but when it comes to shadows, I cannot recover more than 20% from the Olympus E-P1 otherwise I get pretty bad noise and almost no detail.

In the real world, there isn’t any technical reason why anyone would not be able to create impressive images with an old $50 USD Olympus E-P1 and a nice Prime Lens. Well, unless is very bright outside and cannot compose your shots by using the LCD.


Came-TV Boltzen 55w LED Zoom vs Arri 650w Fresnel

Focusable LED Battery Powered video light. This is a very affordable good option compared to a Dedolight. Works on FP Sony type batteries and can also run on AC power. Everything is included in the 2 piece kit, even a plastic case to travel. I tested it at 4800K instead of the advertised 5600K. All the LEDs I have tested usually run around 4500k to 4800k. The only one I have used so far that really runs at the advertised color is the KinoFlo Celeb. I assume the Arri LEDs should also run like a Kino.

Here are some shots of the Boltzen kit:


Below, we have a shot comparing sunlight coming from the window on top left and the Boltzen with a gel at 3400K.


Came-TV LED Boltzen 55W Gelled at 3400K


In the next section I compared the Boltzen with an Arri 650w Fresnel. First thing to notice is the Boltzen is rated at 5600K while the Arri is at 3200K. Both units can run in Flood or Spot. The intensity of both units is very similar from .5 a stop to 1 full stop in luminosity. For example, at 9ft projected to a wall we measured the following:

Boltzen – Spot: 16EV        Flood: 15.5EV

Arri 650w – Spot: 17EV         Flood:16EV

Here are some shots of those two.



Came-TV Boltzen 55w


Arri 650w Fresnel



So, I see when LED technology can really replace traditional tungsten lighting now at much better prices. Those Boltzen are $288 USD each at B&H. The Arri 650w Fresnel is $484 USD.

Something to keep in mind, the Arri is very neutral for 3200K while the Boltzen will need some Gels to get it closer to 5600K and no tint shift to green or magenta, which will decrease the intensity of the light. In the same line, the Arri would require CTB in order to achieve 5600K in case you wanted to work in that spectrum. In all, I would still go with the Boltzen for its price, relative low heat components, performance and compactness.

As a final note, I’ve read some people are afraid of the built in fan on the Boltzen lights, well…  the AC vents in your studio are louder. The fan on a Red Epic Dragon Camera is louder as well.


Summicron M vs Elmarit M 90mm

I keep reading on the forums that everyone loves the Elmarit M because its smaller and sharper. I simply wanted to find out for myself and share my findings to those who want to know.

My version of the Cron feels much better made than the Elmarit M, it feels more precise but yes it is a bit heavier, not by much though. It feels good in my hand. Maybe I’m used to the weight of the Summilux 50mm Asph Chrome and thats why I don’t feel the weight like some users that are used to a Cron 35mm.

These lenses are difficult to focus properly and nail it. I keep focusing one inch behind or so, I never have problems with my 50mm or smaller but the 90mm always seems difficult. This is why is not a great lens for a range finder. Its better to use the EVF on lenses like these.


Elmarit M on Leica M


Summicron M 90mm on Leica M

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Shot at f/8 cropped lower left of image and notice the edges on the Summicron M are much sharper.

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f/2.8 on both Almost no difference, Cron on the right side.

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Elmarit M on Left seems colder but maybe almost equal sharpness in the center at f5.6


Leica SF26 with Off-Camera Flash set to TTL bounced on right reflector.


Size Comparison

Voigtlander Nokton 50mm f/1.1 vs Summilux M Asph. 50mm f/1.4

Most of the reviews I am making in my blog are for two main purposes:

  1. For anyone out there that may have the same questions I do, I like to share my ideas to those that may not have the opportunity to test gear.
  2. My main question  (is Leica gear worth its premium?)

Is the premium you pay for Leica gear really worth what you get? Yes, but don’t think you get 100% better image quality over your other gear.

I have been reviewing M mount Leica, Carl Zeiss, Canon and Voigtlander lenses lately and passing my findings to the online community. So, let me start now:

The Voigtlander Nokton 50mm f/1.1 is bigger, feels solid and looks nice but not heavier than my Summilux 50 Asph. I find the Nokton easier to focus than my Summilux, this is because the bigger barrel makes it easier to turn. The aperture ring is nice and solid and the focusing barrel smooth.

Here are some images that compare side by side of the two lenses.

Voigtlander Nokton 50mm f/1.1 vs Summilux M 50mm Asph. f/1.4

Voigtlander Nokton 50mm f/1.1 vs Summilux M 50mm Asph. f/1.4 (notice the brightness difference is what you gain by going from f/1.4 to f/1.1)

Voigtlander Nokton 50mm f/1.1 vs Summilux M 50mm Asph. f/1.4

Voigtlander Nokton 50mm f/1.1 vs Summilux M 50mm Asph. f/1.4

Voigtlander Nokton 50mm f/1.1 vs Summilux M 50mm Asph. f/1.4

Voigtlander Nokton 50mm f/1.1 vs Summilux M 50mm Asph. f/1.4

One of the things you will notice (besides sharpness and color) is the type of blurred backgrounds you get from the Summilux. They are softer and more natural vs the bokeh found on the Nokton which seems to render harsher outer lines.

Voigtlander Nokton 50mm f/1.1 vs Summilux M 50mm Asph. f/1.4

Voigtlander Nokton 50mm f/1.1 vs Summilux M 50mm Asph. f/1.4 both at f/2.8

Voigtlander Nokton 50mm f/1.1 vs Summilux M 50mm Asph. f/1.4

Voigtlander Nokton 50mm f/1.1 vs Summilux M 50mm Asph. f/1.4

If you can’t acquire a Summilux or Noctilux, you have other alternatives like the Canon 1.2 LTM, this Nokton f/1.1 or the Nokton Aspherical f/1.5 which has more similar bokeh like the Summilux. There are many more 50mm lenses you can use on your Leica like the Summicron, Zeiss  and even Contax adapted  but I find these the most common in my area.

Some people like to shoot the Zeiss 50mm f/1.5 but dislike the focus shift. Its smaller and doesn’t weight as much. The Summicron 50mm is great, nice balance and great sharpness. Just be careful with other lenses that may experience focus shift (focus distance is changed when aperture is changed)

If you need a low light lens where you can shoot ISO 3200 + f/1.1 + 1/60sec. just by the light from a television at 3 meters and no additional light then I would definitely recommend this Voigtlander Nokton f/1.1 but if you are after the Leica look of sharp focus and smooth bokeh, save your pennies and get a new aspherical lens from Leica. In the meantime, you can make great images with any lens.

Voigtlander Ultron 28mm f/2 Leica M Mount Samples

I purchased a 35mm lens some months ago, then again another 35mm only to find that 50mm and 35mm are so close and not worth having in MY opinion. So, I wanted to try a 28mm lens and thought of the Zeiss 28mm f/2.8 in silver but found a good deal on a new Ultron 28mm f/2 and decided to purchase it. It has been about 6 weeks now since I purchased it, I already shot a wedding and have done many comparisons to see how it handles color and sharpness. Its a decent lens with good quality, good optics and good resistance to flare or ghosting. Also, chromatic aberration is handled very well.

The wedding I shot was using it wide open f/2 and since the lens has focus shift over f/2.8 to f/11 I didn’t have any problems but if you plan on closing the aperture to f/4 and over, make sure you compensate for focus shift, it isn’t difficult, just practice and do samples to find its sweet spot. I purchased mine for $600 including shipping and a free B&W filter.

At f/4 and beyond, is almost as sharp as any other high end lens. So if you want the sharpest at f/2, obviously get some extra cash and buy the Summicron 28mm Asph, or just be happy with this one.

As a randome comparison, this lens is sharper at f/2.8 than the Nikon 17-35mm f/2.8 ED or any other Nikon-Canon in similar focal length  at any aperture.

Voigtlander Ultron M 28mm f/2 at f/5.6

Voigtlander Ultron M 28mm f/2 at f/5.6

Voigtlander Ultron M 28mm at f/2

Voigtlander Ultron M 28mm at f/2

Voigtlander Ultron M 28mm f/2 at f8

Voigtlander Ultron M 28mm f/2 at f8

Voigtlander Ultron M 28mm at f/2

Voigtlander Ultron M 28mm at f/2

Voigtlander Ultron M 28mm at f/2

Voigtlander Ultron M 28mm at f/2

Voigtlander Ultron M 28mm f/2 at f/8

Voigtlander Ultron M 28mm f/2 at f/8

Leica M240 Grip and Half Leather Case – Options for a better grip

I love the way the Leica M Typ 240 Chrome looks as it is, no need for any accessory.  But when I shoot for hours, my fingers start to cramp and annoys me. I purchased the half case thinking it would help but not as much as I imagined, now I have the Standard Grip and will see how it handles. The camera feels great with a Summilux 35mm or Summicron 35mm and similar lenses but with the Summilux 50mm Asph and bigger, it starts to feel unbalanced without the grip.

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