More on Sony A77 & NEX-7, Oversized Lenses on Ultra-Compacts and Shoot What You Love

Doesn’t happen every day that a limited edition is already out before the regular product is even announced. But then again, in this case the regular edition will be the real winner.


The Leica M9-P in hammertone finish – sturdy? Rugged? Or just plain ugly?

Looks like the leaked predecessor of the Leica M9-P to be announced on June 21 doesn’t win much praise for its finish. The Leica M9 Hammertone to be sold exclusively in Japan this July doesn’t ignite much enthusiasm among Leica enthusiasts in online forums. Doesn’t matter, what counts is: whatever M digital Leica produces sells.

Has anyone counted all the M8, M8.2 and M9 limited editions? Limited editions are good business for Leica. Other limited M9 editions are sure to follow. And there’s a high probability they’ll look better.

For details on the M9-P edition in hammertone check’s June 9 edition.

Moving on to the world of cameras most people don’t only have to dream of, we have SonyAlphaRumors updating on the future of the Sony Alpha and NEX lineup.

Earlier suggestions that a NEX-7 might be announced as early as July look premature now. Not only has Sony just announced the NEX-C3, “world’smallest and lightest interchangeable lens camera.” Why would they launch a similar product only a month later.

We’re also learning that Sony could indeed be facing production issues caused by the March 11 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear triple (!) disaster. German site PhotoScala reports Japan produced 30 percent less cameras and lenses in April 2011 than April 2010.

Depending on the factories’ locations many Japanese companies also face power shortages. According to market observers the situation could stabilize in the fourth quarter with supply chains back to normal and assembly lines up and running again at full capacity.

No delays however are expected for the new flagship of the translucent mirror technology SLT lineup, the highly anticipated A77. Early testers are using the camera in the field, so there is no question that information will leak. The question is when.

Expected specs of the Sony Alpha A77:

24 MP sensor; new 16-50 kit Sony zoom; 1080p30, 720p60 and 720p30 HD video; super-fast AF with fine-tuning capabilities, new generation 3 million dot OLED EVF; magnesium alloy body with – hopefully – weather sealings; taking CF and SD cards; aggressively priced at $1099 with standard 18-55 kit zoom.

Regarding the ultra-compact NEX-C3 let me add this: Camera makers have reached a threshold where smaller and smaller cameras just don’t make sense anymore.

Not only usability suffers when buttons and controls are tiny and miniscule. You can’t hold the damn thing properly, hardly find your way through the menu – and yet there is an even more fundamental problem: lens barrels remain oversized.

Collapsible Lenses

Collapsible lenses are as old as photography gear. Their barrel sizes could make sense on ultra-compact cameras with interchangeable lenses.

Well that’s plain physics, but those physics are exactly the uphill battle camera makers are facing that joined the miniature-race. They risk to lose even more ground to mobile phone and PS photographers. Because post-processing has gone mainstream. Anyone able to hold a phone can use one of the many apps beautifying and salvaging pictures.

I’m not saying, am just saying.

After the camera bodies now it’s time to revolutionize the lenses. Collapsible lenses are an option.

Pioneer Olympus is the only Micro Four Thirds camera maker so far offering a collapsible lens solving this size issue, the M Zuiko Digital ED 9-18 f/4.0-5.6.

Being at it, what are Olympus‘ more general Four Thirds and Micro Four Thirds plans?

Have a look at this text-based Facebook chat with one of Olympus’ technical trainers. The company’s representative summarizes the party line pretty well without giving away too much. Making clear though there’s no weather-sealed rugged PEN around the corner:

FB Chat

Moving on, CanonRumors is not worried at all that “things are slow to come in at the moment. Based on past experience, this is the calm before my inbox gets hammered with rumors.”

+++ In other photography related news, CanonRumors posts an insanely in-depth look at testing lenses. Certainly worth a read.

Author Roger Cicala of LensRentals tests lenses for a living. Why bother, you say? Says Cicala:

When we get that shiny new box home, we expect it to be perfect. And it probably will be. But after opening some 8,000 shiny new lens boxes I can assure not all of them are. Whether its quality control at the factory or getting knocked around in shipping, our experience is about 2 percent of new lenses need to be exchanged. It varies by brand and it varies by lens complexity (an autofocus zoom with image stabilization is more likely to have problems than a manual focus prime). But every lens needs at least a basic checkout when you first get it home. Used lenses, of course, require it even more.

This week’s editions we’re concluding with Gizmodo‘s latest shooting challenge: the infinite loop.


The shooting infinity challenge

Capture a shot that shows infinity.

The technique? The absolute first thing that comes to mind is the old double mirror trick, capturing the reflections of a mirror of a mirror of a mirror…

Though, technically, mirrors won’t create infinite reflections – they’re actually countable. Quoting from Physics Forum:

Plane mirrors placed facing each other (parallel) actually does not produce infinite images, it will though in infinite time. Say the guy with the phone in that picture leaned on one mirror while the other is placed just over a meter in front. His image (of his anterior aspect that is) will be formed after approximately 1/300,000,000 second. The image of his back will take a further 1/900,000,000 seconds more if he is one foot deep. Now in one second alone we have about 300,000,000 (300 million) images. After just half a minute you’ll have enough images to keep you occupied for over 70 years if you can manage to count four images a second. Nothing said of the images behind you. Well, that seems like infinity to us.

Wait no, we better conclude with Chase Jarvis’ Stop Trying to Get Everyone to Like Your Work.

By trying to please everyone, you end up pleasing no one, especially not yourself. So:

  1. Shoot what you love.
  2. Pimp that work.
  3. Repeat.
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