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Highlights

  • Nikon Celebrates 80 Years of NIKKOR Lenses

    80 Years of NIKKOR Lenses

    80 Years and 80 Million Lenses--That's a lot of Glass

    We recently received an email with a link to a very interesting infographic about the history of NIKKOR lenses. Apparently this year marks the 80th anniversary of the NIKKOR brand. In addition to it being 80 years of producing NIKKOR lenses, Nikon recently manufactured their 80 millionth lens. When you figure it out, on average, Nikon has produced 1 million lenses a year. Break that down even further, that averages out to 2,739 lenses a day. Yep, a day. That number seems pretty impressive, and quite unbelievable. Keep in mind too that that's an average, spread out over the last 80 years. I'm sure in the early years of Nikon lens production it was much more difficult to produce lenses in mass quantities, so the output now must be much greater.

    Nikon Aero-NIKKOR Lens Example of Aero-NIKKOR Lens

    In 1933, Nikon marketed its first camera lenses under the NIKKOR brand name. The first lenses were Aero-NIKKOR, for aerial photography. The first orders came from the Japanese Army Air Force for the 70cm F5 (700mm), as well as for the 18cm F4.5 (180mm) NIKKOR lens for small-scale aerial photography. The lenses were also exhibited at an exposition held that year, and sale of the lenses began.

    The NIKKOR brand of lenses became famous in the 1950s by David Douglas Duncan whose photography appeared in LIFE magazine. Duncan used a NIKKOR lens attached to a Leica camera body, and this brought the brand a lot of recognition. The legend goes that a Japanese photographer showed Duncan some photographs that he had taken using a NIKKOR lens. The photographs had come out clearly despite the fact that they had been taken indoors, in poor light. Duncan was impressed, so he went out and bought two NIKKOR lenses the very next day.

    In 1971, NIKKOR lenses and Nikon cameras went up with the Apollo 15 space mission. NIKKOR lenses have been going into space ever since, and have been subjected to some rough physical conditions. Space walks will subject these lenses to temperatures of negative 150 degrees Celsius or less.

    Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 VR II Lens Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8 VR II Lens

    There are currently over 80 types of lenses still in production today (I guess everything has to be 80 for Nikon this year). Included in this count are 17 DX format (crop sensor) lenses, and 62 FX format (full frame sensor) lenses. The Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8 VR II Lens has the most lens elements. Most people would probably assume that something like the heaviest lens (600mm f/4), or the longest lens (800mm f/5.6) would have the most elements. But, no, the 70-200mm has 21 lens elements in 16 groups.

    Nikon's NIKKOR brand is now also being used with the Nikon 1 camera system. In addition, Coolpix cameras feature built-in (not interchangeable) NIKKOR lenses. Nikon has been producing great NIKKOR lenses for 80 years now. It will be interesting to see what the next 80 years will hold.

     

  • Sony A7 Real-World Samples and RAW File Download

    We were recently at the PhotoPlus Expo in New York City. There wasn't a whole lot of camera gear there we haven't already seen, but there were a couple of cameras worth noting. Besides the Olympus OM-D E-M1, we were excited to check out the Sony A7 and A7r. The display area for both cameras was packed, and it was hard to get a chance for a hands-on look. We had our sights set on checking out the new Zeiss 55mm f/1.8 lens too. We weren't able to grab an A7r, but we were able to look at the Sony A7 with the 55mm lens.

    The Sony A7 is a world's first. It is the first mirrorless interchangeable lens camera to feature a full-frame image sensor. The A7 packs 24 megapixels, while the A7r boasts an impressive 36 megapixels. We currently have both cameras on order, and are hoping they will show up in early December. We anticipate this will be a limited early release, and the demand will be pretty high, so we won't have cameras in stock for very long. If you are interested in a pre-order to secure a camera for you, please give us a call at (802) 244-0883.

    The A7 has a solid feel to it, and there are lot of external controls for manual manipulation. The camera is overall snappy and intuitive for the average advanced camera user. Sony must have heard of the complaints coming from NEX-7 users who were accidentally hitting the video record button. Sony moved this button to a better, safer position on the A7.

    While at the PhotoPlus Expo we switched out the memory card in the A7 we were using for our own memory card. We were able to pop off a couple of shots within the convention center. The lighting wasn't great, and the images weren't thought through, but here are some real world samples straight from the camera. The camera was set to aperture priority, ISO 400, and the aperture was set to f/1.8. The image of the older gentlemen looking down was shot at 1/60 of a second, so there is definitely some shake. The others were 1/125 of a second and are more solid.

    Sony A7 Sample Image Sony A7 Sample Cropped Sony A7 Sample Image Sony A7 Sample Cropped Sony A7 Sample Image Sony A7 Sample Cropped

     

    These images are sized down to play nice on the website. They were actually all shot in RAW, so they've been converted. If you are interested in looking at a RAW file, you can download one here. It is a relatively big file, 25MB. You will need high-speed internet, or it might take you while to download. Please note that there is no 3rd-party software out there that will allow you to view the A7 RAW file, like Photoshop, etc.. You will need Sony's Image Data Converter. The Mac version can be found here, and the Windows here.

  • Hands-On Video Unboxing of the Olympus OM-D E-M1

    The new Olympus OM-D E-M1 has been trickling into our stores, and it has been causing a lot of excitement. This camera has been in short supply since its release, and we wanted to share the experience of what it is like to actually have one and open it up.

    Every time I put my hands on this camera I am instantly reminded of my old Olympus OM-4. The OM-D E-M1 does feel better in my hands, however; the grip is really nice. This is a really cool camera, and the retro look and feel just adds to the overall experience without taking away from the camera.

    The OM-D E-M1 can be purchased in our stores or online here. As noted, this camera has been trickling in and the demand is high. If you are interested in purchasing one, and it doesn't look like we have it in stock, please give us a call (802) 244-0883 and we would be happy to add you to our list. You can also contact us through our website here.

  • Father's Day Sale on Nikon and Canon Digital Cameras

    Father's Day Sale

    Father's are really important. Fathers raise us, support us, and shape us. Let's face it, we wouldn't be here if it wasn't for dad. It is important to recognize our fathers, and let them know that we care.

    I am really lucky to see my dad almost every day, but I know I don't tell him enough just how much I appreciate him being my dad. Luckily, there is a special holiday that comes around every year in June--Father's Day. Father's Day this year is in one week, June 16th, and is a great time to get Dad something he's always wanted, or to give him a special keep-sake or memory.

    If you're looking for something special to get your dad, we are here to help. For the next week, we are running some great specials on digital cameras, lenses, and accessories. We also have our photo lab staff at the ready to make beautiful photo prints of your favorite memories with dad. We have a large selection of frames, albums and mats to make your precious memories that much more special.

    This morning we highlighted sales from Nikon and Canon for Father's Day with a couple of newspaper inserts. If you missed those inserts, here are the Canon Father's Day sales and Nikon Father's Day sales in PDF.

    Don't forget! We now have two store locations to better server Vermonters. One in Waterbury Center, and the other in South Burlington.

  • Schneider Optics iPro Lens System for the Apple iPhone 4/4s

    If you like taking photographs with your iPhone and have been looking to get better quality wide-angle images, check out the iPro Lens System by Schneider Optics. Schneider is a recognized name in the photo industry that is synonymous with quality.

    The iPro Lens System is a kit that includes the following:

    • iPhone 4/4s case.
    • Wide angle lens that provides 35% more coverage than the standard lens on the iPhone.
    • Fish-eye lens with a 165 degree angle-of-view.
    • Handle that attaches to the case and also stores the two lenses. Can also mount to a tripod.
    iPro Lens System case without lens

    iPro Lens System case without lens mounted

    The iPro Lens System case is a necessary accessory to mount the iPro lenses. The case features a bayonet mount located over the iPhone's internal camera. The iPro lenses slide into this mount and twist to lock in place.

    iPro Lens System Case with Lens Mounted

    iPro Lens System Case with lens mounted

    The case also features two small screw holes--each on opposite sides of the phone--where the included handle can mount. The camera can be oriented on either the right or left side depending on which hole you mount the handle.

    iPro Lens System case with handle screw mount

    Mounting hole for iPro Lens System handle

    The handle provides a sturdier grip for holding the phone, which is especially useful when taking video. The bottom of the handle also features a 1/4"-20 screw hole where you can attach any standard tripod. This is especially useful anywhere minimizing shake and blur is essential.

    iPro Lens System with handle and lenses

    The handle also doubles as a storage container for the two included lenses. The handle simply unscrews in two different places to reveal storage for the lenses.

    iPro Lens System Handle Lens Storage

    Schneider boasts the included wide-angle lens provides a 35% wider field than the standard view of the iPhone's internal camera. Schneider states the wide-angle lens has a 19mm focal length equivalent to 35mm photography for still photos. The fish-eye lens provides a 165 degree field-of-view, and is equivalent to a 12mm lens for still photos.

    Check out the photos of Charlie below to get an idea of the differences in lenses:

    iPhone without the iPro Lens System

    iPhone without the iPro Lens System

    iPhone with iPro Lens System Wide-Angle Lens

    iPhone with iPro Lens System Wide-Angle Lens

    iPhone with iPro Lens System Fish-Eye Lens

    iPhone with iPro Lens System Fish-Eye Lens

    The iPro Lens System can be purchased from our website here.

  • The Greatest Instruction Manual Cover Photo Ever

    Let's face it: instruction manuals are boring. Especially technical ones, i.e. electronics and photo equipment manuals. With all the used equipment we buy, sell and trade, we come across a lot of manuals in any given week. And, they are, for the most part, all the same.

    Last week, we came across one a little different from all the rest.

    In our experience, Olympus takes the cake for having the greatest instruction manual photo cover ever. Olympus also gave a whole new meaning to MANual when they created this:

    Olympus OM System Manual Cover Photo

    With the recent release of the Olympus OM-D E-M5, we thought this too good not to share. Olympus dug up the OM past to bring us the new OM-D. We found it good timing to dig up this bit of Olympus' past too.

  • 10 Awesome Quotes on Photography

    Ansel Adams with Speech Bubble

    Quotes are great. And, we've found that photographers are great quote makers. Here we've compiled a list of ten awesome quotes--in no particular order--photographers (mostly) have said about photography.

    We've heard so many customers make the same complaint as number 8, by Strand, and we find this especially relevant with the recent Kodak bankruptcy and overall uncertainty surrounding film. We don't agree with number 5, by Warhol, but found it interesting because during our search for awesome quotes we found most photographers commenting on the struggle they faced of making photography a recognized art form. It seems Warhol wasn't the only one who shared number 5's sentiment. Especially, it seems, during the early part of last century.

    1. It's not YOUR picture, it's MY picture! Garry Winogrand to a guy who told him not to take his picture.
    2. You only get one sunrise and one sunset a day, and you only get so many days on the planet. A good photographer does the math and doesn't waste either. Galen Rowell
    3.  It's about time we started to take photography seriously and treat it as a hobby. Elliot Erwitt
    4. Never boss people around. It's more important to click with people than to click the shutter. Alfred Eisenstaedt
    5. Photographers feel guilty that all they do for a living is press a button. Andy Warhol
    6. Photography is not cute cats, nor nudes, motherhood or arrangements of manufactured products. Under no circumstances it is anything ever anywhere near a beach. Walker Evans
    7. I don't care if you make a print on a bath mat, just as long as it is a good print. Edward Weston
    8. Everytime I find a film or paper that I like, they discontinue it. Paul Strand
    9. There are no rules for good photographs, there are only good photographs. Ansel Adams
    10. Let the subject generate its own photographs. Become a camera. Minor White

    Do you have favorite quotes on photography? Please share. We'd love to see them.

  • "Femto Photography": Born in a Lab at MIT

    MIT Media Lab's Camera Culture Group has developed a process for visualizing light at a trillion frames per second. The name? "Femto Photography". This seems like something sports photographers could really get behind. Perhaps sifting through a trillion frames of images for a one second moment would be a little too tedious. Even the most patient editors would have a difficult time with that one. Of course, yes, we know it wouldn't be possible in the first place. An exposure time of 1/1,000,000,000,000 seconds is a little too short for a moving subject to be properly exposed. It is still fun to think about, however.

    In all seriousness, this is way cool. Visualizing the propagation of waves through water is one thing, but being able to visualize the propagation of light is something else. Check out the video below. It shows pulses of a laser and the light emitted and propagated from that pulse. It takes approximately one-billionth of a second for the light to travel across the entire bottle. Slowed down, it takes a little bit longer than that....

  • Benj Gershman and O.A.R.

    This is a different kind of post for us, but is pertinent in the sense that it relates to camera equipment and photography.

    Last night I went to an O.A.R. concert at Burlington's Waterfront Park.

    Burlington Waterfront Park ConcertIf you have never had the chance to enjoy the waterfront of Lake Champlain, it is a real treat, and one of the most beautiful spots in Burlington. It is also a big reason why many people travel to Burlington. Seeing a concert on the waterfront is a really cool experience. While watching a show you have terrific views of (if the weather cooperates) a beautiful sunset over the Adirondack Mountains of New York, which are visible just across Lake Champlain.

    Last night in between songs, and as the sun was setting, the band members of O.A.R. were taking a moment or two to take in the scenery, commenting on how beautiful the venue was. At one point, I glanced over at the bassist, Benj Gershman, and couldn't help but notice he was taking some photographs of the sunset laid out before him. I got pretty excited too, because it was unmistakable to pick out the camera he was using. Propped up in his hands was that solid classic, the Pentax 67.

    Pentax 67 Medium Format Film Camera

    Pentax 67 Medium Format Film Camera

    I thought it was pretty cool to see a famous musician taking photographs during an actual set, using none other than a classic medium format film camera. So, today I figured I would do a little research and look into things a little more. Lo and behold, Benj is an avid photographer, and has a website dedicated to his photography at www.benjgershman.com. We recommend you check out his work. It is pretty cool and he definitely has a creative eye.

    If used and classic camera equipment excites you as much as it excites us, we recommend you check out our website dedicated to the stuff. You can find all of our used camera equipment listed at www.theusedcamerastore.com.

  • Carl Dunn: World Published Rock Photographer

    Mick Jagger Color Photograph by Carl Dunn

    Mick Jagger (Rolling Stones) - Fort Worth, Texas

    Stop in to any record or CD store anywhere in the world and you can find examples of Carl Dunn's work. Carl Dunn has been photographing musicians for over 40 years. His scope of work includes 10s of thousands of photographs of some of the biggest names in music. Carl has photographed David Bowie, Bruce Springsteen, Mick Jagger, James Marshall Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Elvis, Jeff Beck, and The Who, just to name a few. His album and book credits include Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Emerson, Lake and Palmer, Moody Blues and many lessor known artist from the 70's, as well as having credits in many documentary films. Early on, Carl was able to form unique relationships that allowed him full access to the biggest names in music. He's shot musicians in varied environments from concerts, to bars, in studios, backstage and in candid situations.

    Robert Plant B&W Photography by Carl Dunn

    Robert Plant (Led Zeppelin) - Dallas, Texas

    Many of his images are iconic in nature. Carl's ability to capture a musician in a single moment and to tell a story about their artistry through a single image is remarkable. Yet, speaking with Carl you do not get the sense that his photographs are really that big of a deal. In fact, for Carl, you get the sense that photographing musicians is a second nature to ordinary life: "I shoot the same photograph over and over." He likes to consider his photography as a "curiosity driven by some underlying passion."

    Pete Townshend B&W Photograph by Carl Dunn

    Pete Townshend (The Who) - Dallas, Texas

    Carl is a Nikon shooter, and he always has been. Carl's choice in a camera system was based on the quality of Nikon lenses at the time of his start in photography. In considering lens sharpness, Carl thinks that "Nikon [lenses] compared to other 35mm manufacturers of the day were by far the best with the possible exception of Leica." His early photographs were shot with a Nikon F and the Nikon 300mm f/4, 50mm f/1.4, 85mm f/1.8, and 180mm f/2.8. The 300mm f/4 was stolen, however, so the majority of his early photographs were taken with the remaining three lenses.

    David Bowie B&W Photograph by Carl Dunn

    David Bowie - Memphis, Tennessee

    Carl has recently been working on scanning many of his older negatives into digital files. He acquired a Nikon Coolscan 9000 from us a little while ago (unfortunately these great scanners are discontinued and no longer available), and is impressed with the quality. The scans require a little bit of work, and Carl makes sure to use the multi-sampling functionality to get the highest quality results. One issue that plagues his work is getting the negatives clean. Years of storage, even in archival negative sleeves, have not been kind to the scanning process. Carl tries to get the negatives as clean as possible with PEC-12 emulsion cleaner by Photographic Solutions. Scratches and stubborn spots cannot be resolved in this way, however, so Carl resorts to post-processing. He spends a lot of time with each photograph, viewing the digital image at 100% and correcting any artifacts at their size scale.

    Photograph by Carl Dunn

    Paul Rodgers and Brian May (Queen) - MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada

    Carl lives in Texas, but has been our customer for several years now. He first contacted us when he was interested in a Nikon D3 and saw that we had some. Lucky for us, Carl has been a customer ever since, and he calls us up whenever he needs something, or to just talk about life. Carl's transition into digital photography has been a satisfying one. Carl is especially impressed with the low-light advantage of the Nikon D3. He says, "With Nikon's ability to capture at low light I find the biggest advantage  is to get the shutter speed up and the aperture squeezed down." Carl has often told me that he likes to shoot stopped down to at least f/5.6 because that is when he gets a more 3-dimensional feel to the image. And, being able to use a camera with a very clean high-iso allows him to do this and still be able to maintain a useful shutter speed. A tip he suggests, "The main thing is to avoid over exposure, which is especially critical with digital cameras and concert lighting."

    Concert Hall Panorama by Carl Dunn

    Jeff Beck Group - Palace Theater, Louisville, Kentucky

    One of the more recent excitements in digital photography for Carl is the panorama. In his earlier days of photography he tried capturing concert venues with a wide-angle lens. Unfortunately, the wide-angle never captured the entire feel and moment of the concert. With digital photography Carl is able to capture multiple images and stitch them together to get a perspective that would not otherwise be possible with a single shot using a wide-angle lens.

    Concert Venue Panorma by Carl Dunn

    Jeff Beck Group - Eastman Theater, Rochester Jazz Festival, Rochester, New York

    In addition to the changes seen by digital photography, Carl is amazed by the quality of modern lenses. He notes that the sharpness of his current images are far better than anything he has before produced. His most used lenses are the Nikon AF-S 24-70mm f/2.8 and the Nikon AF-S 70-200mm f/2.8 VR. The first instinct many photographers might have is that these lenses are too slow for the low-light situations of concert venues, wanting to grab for a f/1.8 or faster lens. Again, the unparalleled high-ISO performance of the D3 allows for Carl to use smaller apertures and still maintain a fast enough shutter speed for sharp images.

    James Marshall Hendrix B&W Photograph by Carl Dunn

    James Marshall Hendrix (The Jimi Hendrix Experience) - Dallas, Texas

    Carl is still photographing musicians, and recently followed Jeff Beck. He is a contributor to the UK Cancer Research charity and auction held annually at Abbey Road Studio in London and hosted by Sir George Martin. Carl has published a book of his work and the book can be seen at http://www.thisisrockandroll.com/. He has prints available for sale at http://rockandrollgallery.com/. Prints and books are also available directly through Carl.

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