Questions? (802) 651-4100

Green Mountain Camera Blog

  • Nikon Announces 6 New COOLPIX Cameras (P7100, S6200, S8200, S100, AW100, S1200pj)

    Yesterday we reported on Sony's announcement of some new digital cameras and lenses. While it took most of the day for us to update the blog and our website for these new products, we neglected to report on the introduction of new Nikon Coolpix digital cameras. Unfortunately, as the saying goes, there just aren't enough hours in the day. We have just updated our website with Nikon's new Coolpix's and are now happy to report on their introduction to the world.

    Nikon COOLPIX P7100 Digital Camera

    Nikon COOLPIX P7100 Digital Camera

    The flagship Coolpix model, the P7000, is getting an upgrade with the new Nikon COOLPIX P7100. The Nikon P7100 is not a total revamping of the P7000, which makes sense, otherwise Nikon would have probably named it something like the P8000. The megapixel count and lens (28-200mm equivalent) appear to be untouched. Nikon does state the image processing speed has been increased, in addition to better noise reduction for sharper, cleaner images. Many P7000 users will approve of Nikon's claim that the P7100 will have a "high-speed response with faster power-up time, focus acquisition and shooting time lag...." One issue many P7000 users had was the focus acquisition lag time. Two major physical changes are a new vari-angle LCD for the atypical shooting situation, and a front control knob for quick custom setting changes.

    Nikon P7100 Vari-Angle LCD Monitor

    Nikon P7100 Vari-Angle LCD Monitor

    Nikon has also upgraded the S8100 and S6100 COOLPIX digital cameras with the Nikon Coolpix S8200 (black, silver, red) and Coolpix S6200 (red, black, silver, blue, pink). Again, the small bump in model number suggests some small improvements. The Nikon S8100 was a very popular camera for us and we sold a ton of them. So, we naturally welcome an upgrade to this camera with the hope the S8200's performance will be improved along with the new model number. Both cameras get a longer zoom, which is what made them popular in the first place. The S8200 now boasts a 14x optical zoom (S8100 was 10x), and the S6200 features a 10x zoom (S6100 was 7x). It is quite incredible that Nikon is able to fit such extensive zooms in these cameras considering how compact--especially the S6100/S6200--they are. They really are pocket-able cameras.

    Nikon COOLPIX S8200 Digital Camera

    Nikon COOLPIX S8200 Digital Camera

    Nikon COOLPIX S6200 Digital Camera

    Nikon COOLPIX S6200 Digital Camera

    The S80 has received a kick with the new Nikon Coolpix S100 (red, black, gold, purple). If you are not familiar with the S80, the Nikon S100 continues a long line of compact, touch-screen digital cameras. It wasn't too long ago that these touch screens were low-resolution and not very responsive to touch. The S80 showed us a nice, big, bright, responsive, and detailed screen. The OLED screen we saw in the S80 will again be in the S100, which we welcome because it was a good screen. The S100 styling looks to now be ultra-thin (less than an inch in thickness), and in Nikon's words "Ultra-chic". You can tell from Nikon's marketing this camera was designed for a specific demographic when they use phrases like "dance floor", "curves", etc.. That is not to say this camera cannot be for everyone, however. We have sold the S80 for many specific purposes. The first one that comes to mind is when we sold an S80 to researchers because they wanted to write a tag on each image as they were being taken to later identify the images for the research project being conducted.

    Nikon COOLPIX S100 Touch-Screen Digital Camera

    Nikon COOLPIX S100 Touch-Screen Digital Camera

    It wasn't too long ago that Nikon first introduced the S1000pj. It seemed like that was quickly upgraded with the S1100pj. If you are unfamiliar with these cameras, they are a truly unique crop of technology. These Coolpix cameras feature a built-in projector. The Nikon projector cameras have always been marketed with nostalgia in mind. There was really nothing like getting a group of people together, loading up the slide projector, and having an evening of photo sharing while staring at a wall. The S1000pj and S1100pj attempted to jettison this past time into the present tense. Nikon has now introduced the next generation of these cameras with the Coolpix S1200pj (black, pink). The Nikon S1200pj has now truly launched the projector camera line into this century with the ability to connect directly to iPods and iPhones, and project content like photos and videos from those devices.  With the S1000pj, you were only able to project what was on the camera. Then the S1100pj added the ability to connect other devices. Now the S1200pj is able to do all of that plus connect to handheld devices. This will make the S1200pj more useful for many different types of people than ever. One interesting thing that we have found with these projector cameras is that Artists love them. Go ahead, project details of landscapes, portraits, or whatever, directly on your canvas.

    Nikon COOLPIX S1200pj 14.1 MP Digital Camera with Built-In Projector (Pink)

    Nikon COOLPIX S1200pj Digital Camera with Built-In Projector

    We have intentionally saved the sixth camera of all the new Nikon Coolpix digital cameras for last. With the above five cameras they are all an upgrade, or improvement, on already established camera types. This camera is a brand-new type of Coolpix for Nikon, however, and something we have not seen in Coolpix cameras. The Nikon COOLPIX AW100 (orange, black, blue) is Nikon's first underwater point-and-shoot digital, Coolpix camera. The new AW series is waterproof to a depth of 33 ft., shockproof from a drop of about 5 ft. up, and freezeproof down to about 14 degrees Fahrenheit. In addition, it is packed with features like GPS and "e-Compass". Yes, if you are lost in the woods with this camera, you can find your way out (hopefully) with the built-in compass. The AW100 is 16 megapixels and has a 5x optical zoom lens (non-extending so it can't get bumped and broken). Nikon has introduced a new case to go along with the AW series also, and it features a carabiner for quickly attaching the case to whatever is available.

    Nikon COOLPIX AW100 Waterproof Digital Camera

    Nikon COOLPIX AW100 Waterproof Digital Camera

    Nikon COOLPIX All Weather Sport Case

    Nikon COOLPIX All Weather Sport Case

  • New Sony Cameras and Lenses Announced! (A77, A65, NEX-7, NEX-5N, SEL24F18Z, SAL1650, SEL50F18, SEL55210)

    We are excited to share today's announcement of new Sony digital cameras and lenses. Two new cameras featuring Sony's "Translucent Mirror Technology" have been introduced. These cameras build on the popular Sony Alpha SLT-A33 and Sony Alpha SLT-A55, and will be sold along with the new Sony Alpha SLT-A35, which is available now (lens kit, body only). Sony today announces the Alpha SLT-A65 (lens kit, body only), and the Alpha SLT-A77 (lens kit, body only).

    Sony Alpha SLT-A65 Digital SLR Camera with 18-55mm Lens

    Sony Alpha SLT-A65 Digital SLR Camera with 18-55mm Lens

    Sony Alpha SLT-A77 Digital SLR Camera with 16-50mm f/2.8 Lens

    Sony Alpha SLT-A77 Digital SLR Camera with 16-50mm f/2.8 Lens

    The A77 and A65 both feature a newly developed Exmor™ APS HD CMOS sensor with 24.3 effective megapixel resolution, as well as the world’s first XGA OLED Tru-Finder™ viewfinder, which features an astounding 2.3 million dot resolution. The sensor teams with the next generation of Sony’s BIONZ® image processing engine to handle huge amounts of high speed data from the camera sensor, enabling unprecedented response times and flawless image quality with ultra-low noise when shooting still images or Full HD video. The A77 is the world's fastest digital SLR with 12 FPS continuous shooting, and the A65 sits just behind with a still incredible 10 FPS continuous shooting. In addition, both cameras offer an extreme sensitivity with an ISO range of 100-16000. The A77 offers a durable magnesium alloy body and weather-resistant sealing for less-than-ideal shooting environments.

    For more information about the A77, including a look at the new 16-50mm f/2.8 lens (SAL1650) that is offered as a kit, check out the video below:

    In addition to the Sony A77, A65 and 16-50mm f/2.8 lens, Sony has also announced the introduction of two new NEX cameras, which will be sold along with the new NEX-C3 (available now). The two new NEX cameras announced today are the NEX-7 (lens kit, body only) and the NEX-5N (lens kit, body only, silver kit).

    The Sony Alpha NEX-7 is being pegged as the "all-in-one" compact interchangeable lens digital camera. Unlike many other mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras, the Sony NEX-7 has a built-in viewfinder.

    Sony Alpha NEX-7 Compact Interchangeable Lens Digital Camera

    Sony Alpha NEX-7 Compact Interchangeable Lens Digital Camera

    The NEX-7 camera features a new Exmor™ APS HD CMOS sensor with 24.3 effective megapixel resolution – highest in its class -- that complements the latest generation of Sony’s BIONZ®  image processing engine.

    The Sony NEX-7  offers a unique combination of sensor and processor technology and delivers flawless image and HD video quality with very low noise and exceptionally fast shooting responses. An ultra-high sensitivity range extends from ISO 100-16000, making it easy to capture clean, low-noise images in dimly lit interiors or exteriors.

    Response is accelerated even further by a shutter release lag of approximately 20 milliseconds– the fastest of any interchangeable lens digital camera (as of Aug 2011). In speed priority continuous mode, the NEX-7 camera captures fast-moving action at up to 10fps (AF/AE is fixed) – the world’s fastest burst shooting speed of any mirrorless interchangeable lens camera (as of Aug 2011).

    Sony Alpha NEX-5N Compact Interchangeable Lens Digital Camera

    Sony Alpha NEX-5N Compact Interchangeable Lens Digital Camera

    The Sony Alpha NEX-5N features an Exmor™ APS HD CMOS sensor with 16.1 effective megapixel resolution and is complemented by a specially-optimized version of the powerful BIONZ® image processing engine, resulting in exceptionally clean, low noise images. Maximum sensitivity is also boosted to ISO 25600,the highest among mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras (as of Aug 2011), allowing for very high-quality handheld shooting in low-light conditions.

    One of the highlights of the Sony Alpha NEX-5N is that it is the first E-mount interchangeable lens camera from Sony that features an intuitive new Photo Creativity Touch interface. Background Defocus, Exposure, Picture Effect and other adjustments can be quickly and easily previewed, applied and combined via the LCD touch panel and control dial, with traditional “photo jargon” simplified for beginner shooters.

    In addition to the camera's mentioned above, Sony has also announced some very exciting new lens additions to both the A mount and E mount systems. As already noted, Sony has introduced a high-end, fast-aperture A mount lens, the Sony DT 16-50mm f/2.8 SSM lens.

    Sony DT 16-50mm f/2.8 SSM Lens for A-Mount Cameras

    Sony DT 16-50mm f/2.8 SSM Lens for A-Mount Cameras

    In addition to this lens, Sony has also introduced three new E mount lenses. Perhaps the most highly anticipated of the three is the new Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* 24mm f/1.8 ZA lens. Sony NEX users have been waiting for a Carl Zeiss lens to be introduced into the highly popular NEX camera system.

    Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* E 24mm f/1.8 ZA Lens

    Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* E 24mm f/1.8 ZA Lens

    Sony also announced an E 50mm f/1.8 OSS lens, and an E 55-210mm f/4.5-6.3 OSS lens. The 50mm f/1.8 OSS is the first lens of a fixed focal length of 50mm with a large aperture to feature optical image stabilization built in to the lens. The 55-210mm is a welcome addition to the NEX camera system for people looking to shoot objects at greater distances.

    Sony E 50mm f/1.8 OSS Lens

    Sony E 50mm f/1.8 OSS Lens

    Sony E 55-210mm f/4.5-6.3 OSS Lens

    Sony E 55-210mm f/4.5-6.3 OSS Lens

    For a closer look at all of the products mentioned above, plus some extras, please check out this video:

  • Who buys used cameras?

    Where to sell used camera gear?

    If you are wondering where to sell your used camera gear, we have an easy answer: us. We are constantly looking for good used equipment. A core part of our business is buying and selling used gear, and we purchase camera equipment every day. Our customers find we can provide them with a good value, and a safe and secure transaction. Sure, you can get a little more for your camera gear by piecing it out individually and selling it yourself, but it can be a lot of work, and unfortunately there are a lot of people who are less than honest on the internet.  We are interested in purchasing all of your equipment--from the very special to what others might consider mundane. This is good for you, because you can get rid of your equipment quickly and easily, and all at once. Plus, we are a trusted, established business with a great BBB (Better Business Bureau) track record. At any one time we carry hundreds of pieces of used gear, and literally sell hundreds of used items every month all over the world, which is a testimonial to the trust and value our customers place in doing business with us. More than used camera equipment, we carry a huge inventory of new camera gear. If you are looking to upgrade, we can give you a better deal for your used camera equipment if you are looking to trade with us.

    So, you have used camera gear you are looking to sell or trade, what next? We have found that the best place to start is to make a list of your used camera gear, and send it over to us via e-mail to used@gmcamera.com. For more detailed instructions, please visit our dedicated page on our website here. You can also submit a list of up to five items via an online form on the same page, too. Once we have your list, we can mull it over and provide you with a ballpark estimate of what we can offer you for purchase or trade. When you see the estimate, and find that it is good, from there we just need to get your equipment in our hands. Then we simply confirm the cosmetic and mechanical condition of every piece and provide you with a final offer. Once you accept the offer, we cut you a check, or issue you store credit immediately. We want you to feel comfortable and good about your decision and the whole process, so if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call us at (802) 244-0883 x203 to speak with a dedicated specialist.

    Are you looking to buy used cameras, lenses, or accessories? Please visit our dedicated website at www.theusedcamerastore.com. The inventory is constantly changing there, so please bookmark the website and comeback frequently!

  • First Look at the New Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 IIR MSC Lens

    Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 14-42MM f/3.5-5.6 2R MSC Zoom Lens (Silver)

    Today we received our first shipment of the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 IIR (2R) MSC lens. We received them in both black and silver. We were curious to see how the lens looked and felt compared to the previous version (II, non-R). So, we decided to place the two lenses next to each other and take a couple pictures. What we quickly discovered is that both lenses are essentially identical in size. After the photo shoot we even gave them a quick weighing and found them to be essentially identical in weight too, both weighing in at approximately 110-112g.

    Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 14-42MM f/3.5-5.6 2R MSC Zoom Lens

    As mentioned, and as you can see, the two lenses are approximately the same height when collapsed. The newer lens (on the left), does appear to be a little bit taller, but this is just an optical illusion. There is actually a cosmetic cap that covers the bayonet mount, where you can add a dedicated lens hood (not included). We like this cap. We think it keeps things looking really clean. The only problem we can foresee is, what do you do with it when you use the dedicated hood? Seems like a piece that can get easily lost...

    Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 14-42MM f/3.5-5.6 2R MSC Zoom Lens

    Here is the lens with that cover removed (don't lose it!). Just a simple bayonet mount under there.

    Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 14-42MM f/3.5-5.6 2R MSC Zoom LensEven with the lenses fully extended, both are essentially the same size.  Here you can see that both lenses are fully extended to 42mm.

    Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 14-42MM f/3.5-5.6 2R MSC Zoom Lens

    Here's a top view of both lenses next to each other. Everything looks pretty much identical. The new lens still uses a 37mm filter. At this angle you can see how that cover we've been talking about really makes the lens look sleek and clean.

    You might now be wondering, what does the lens look like on camera? Well, here it is on an E-PL2.

    Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 14-42MM f/3.5-5.6 2R MSC Zoom Lens

    Looks pretty good, but not as good as on the E-P3. The E-P3 and E-PL3 are definitely designed with this lens in mind. The silver of this lens, as you may have already noticed, is different in shade than the silver of the previous version lens. It is a darker shade, and so it doesn't match the shade of the silver E-PL2 as well.

    Finally, it looks nice, but how does it feel? The lens feels good, but you can definitely feel the difference in the gnarling of the grip around the zoom and focus. The grip doesn't feel as "catchy" as the previous version. Having said that, we didn't have any problem with our fingers slipping while on the grip. We did notice, to our surprise, a big improvement in the feel of the manual focus. The manual focus ring felt better dampened. Whereas, with the previous version, the manual focus felt loose and airy, the manual focus of the newer version lens feels tighter and more firm.

  • Photography, 160 Years Ago: A Really Old Voigtlander Lens

    Voightlander & John in Wien - Brass Lens

    What was Photography 160 years ago?

    Well, for starters, there was no standardized film. George Eastman was not even born yet. We were 70+ years away from seeing companies like Nikon. There were, however, a couple names that may sound familiar: Zeiss and Voigtlander. These two companies are two of the oldest optical manufacturers in existence. Many of their products were not for photographic purposes back then.

    Voightlander & John in Wien - Brass Lens

    Green Mountain Camera has once again unearthed a gem of photographic history, dating back to 1847.  It is a “Voigtlander & Sohn in Wien” Brass lens, serial number 2761, which places it among one of the earliest photographic lenses in existence. This lens was made in Vienna, Austria and is considered a “Petzval” type Portrait lens.

    A "Petzval" type lens is named after Joseph Petzval, who came up with the design of this lens type around 1840. A Professor of Mathematics at Vienna University, he was the first to design a lens with good center sharpness and an extremely fast maximum aperture (f/3.6, which was unheard of at the time). This lens design trumped the then standard design of Charles Chevalier, who designed a lens with a maximum aperture of only f/5.6, and the lens was relatively unsharp. To his credit, Chevalier greatly improved on the lenses that came before him, which were extremely slow--f/17 or slower. Chevalier was really the first individual to make Portraiture accessible to the new process of Photography. With the then current chemical processes and extremely slow lenses, an exposure time of 10 minutes in bright sunlight was not unusual. This was OK if you wanted to take a picture of a landscape, relax and have a cocktail, but for portraits, it made life very difficult.

    With the advent of Petzval's lens design, which had a maximum aperture as large as f/3.6, Portraiture truly began to blossom. In fact, commercial photography was thus born, and photographers took advantage of it by being paid to take portraits. Petzval's lens was therefore an instant and widely accepted success. Unfortunately for him, a patent was never acquired and the lens was quickly copied the world over. At the time, and to their advantage, Voigtlander and Sons was working closely with Joseph Petzval, and were the first to manufacture the new lens design. The success of the Petzval lens design meant instant success for Voigtlander too, and they were quickly regarded as the manufacturer of the finest lenses.

    This Voigtlander lens was used for two types of cameras: Daguerreotype and Wet-Plate. Daguerre announced his process to the world on August 19, 1839, and this is the date most often associated with the beginning of photography. Daguerreotype cameras used copper plates coated in silver. Exposures took several minutes and the plates were costly. Wet-Plate cameras used a glass or tin plate. Exposure times were shortened to just a couple of seconds and the cost was dramatically less.

    To understand how special our lens is, you have to reflect a little while on how important photography is today, and how it changed the world back in 1839. Then think of how short 8 years truly is in the grand scheme of things, and then place this lens, No. 2761, right there in the center of it all.

    Voightlander & John in Wien - Brass Lens

    And then, the mysteries and fables pour out of this short brass barrel.  I can’t help but wonder, looking through a piece of glass that has been around for more than 1 and a half centuries, what sort of images this lens may have captured…

    A cityscape of Paris, before the Eiffel Tower was built…

    A portrait of Abraham Lincoln...

    The construction of the Statue of Liberty…

    There is one thing we do know:

    A lot has happened since 1847.


    Voightlander & John in Wien - Brass LensVoightlander & John in Wien - Brass Lens
    Voightlander & John in Wien - Brass Lens

    Visit www.theusedcamerastore.com to see all of our antique and classic photographic equipment for sale.

    For more information on this lens and other antiques contact Jay at jaustin@gmcamera.com 

  • A Review of the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12mm f/2.0 Lens

    Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12mm f/2.0 Lens

    We have to honest. Any time there is an announcement for a fixed-focal length, fast-aperture lens, we get pretty excited. Actually, that is a lie. We get VERY excited. When Olympus announced the 12mm f/2.0 and the 45mm f/1.8 we were happy for the micro four thirds market. Now that there are some years behind the mFT movement, and there are many individuals who have become entrenched in the system, it is great to see some serious additions from Olympus. That is not to say lenses like the 17mm f/2.8 or the 9-18mm f/4.0-5.6 are not serious, but these lenses simply feel necessary, unlike the 12mm f/2.0, which took a lot of people by surprise with its announcement. In addition, the physical design of the lens looks like more effort was put into thinking about its look, feel, and use.

    We have heard some people say differently, but we think the 12mm f/2.0 looks great. The compact, clean, and metallic design complements the PEN cameras brilliantly. In addition, the 12mm f/2.0 is extremely light weight at a mere 130g. Normally we are a little hesitant with light lenses. Typically when you feel a light lens in your hand, it feels cheap. And, in our experience, that is usually the correct assumption. A lot of plastic is substituted where metal should have been used. In the case of the 12mm f/2.0, although it is very light, it does feel very solid. It may use a lot of plastic (we aren't sure, but we can see the mount is metal), but it certainly does not feel that way.

    Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12mm f/2.0 Lens

    Metal Mount of Olympus 12mm f/2.0

    The dimensions of the lens are compact, which is great for use with a mFT camera. The lens does not protrude too much, and the balance feels great in the hands.

    Olympus PEN E-PL2 with 12mm f/2.0

    Olympus PEN E-PL2 with 12mm f/2.0

    Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12mm f/2.0 Lens

    Olympus 12mm f/2.0 Next to a Nickel

    One of the really neat things about this lens is the "snap focus" feature. This is one of the reasons why we feel like the 12mm f/2.0 is a more "serious" product for the mFT market, and why we feel like Olympus really put a lot of thought into this lens. In many of the lighter, made-for-digital, and more plastic lenses we have seen, the manual focus is horrible. The manual focus usually feels very loose and "disconnected" from the lens. With the 12mm f/2.0, the focus ring actually snaps from auto to manual focus, just by pulling back (towards the camera) on the focus ring.

    Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12mm f/2.0 Lens

    Manual Focus Engaged

    Once the manual focus is engaged, a distance scale is revealed, and the focus has a well-dampened movement. The dampening is excellent and reminds us of dedicated manual focus lenses, which is exactly the feel Olympus was trying to recreate. In addition, the manual focus with this lens is extremely easy. Easy in the sense that fine focus just seems to "snap" in to place. It is difficult to describe without seeing or feeling. We did create a short video to highlight the manual focus of the 12mm f/2.0, and we hope it gives you a better idea of how it all works.

    In talking about the manual focus, we should not let it distract us from the autofocus of this lens. The 12mm f/2.0 autofocus is extremely quick for mFT, and it is also extremely quiet, which Olympus attributes to the MSC (movie-still-compatible) mechanism. MSC essentially eludes to the fact that the quiet autofocus will not ruin videos produced with this lens because of annoying autofocus noises being recorded by the camera's internal mic. The fast, quiet autofocus is certainly a big advantage for both stills and video.

    With the compact size, light weight, solid feel, and fast autofocus, this lens was a treat to hold and use. In looking at and feeling the lens, it seemed like it had everything going for it, so we were anxious to take it out for some sample images. As much as we were pleased with the aspects of the 12mm f/2.0 mentioned above, we were thrilled with the image quality. Shot after shot taken with the lens left us impressed with the results. We found the sharpness to be top-notch, the contrast to be, well, contrasty, but not overly so, the chromatic aberrations were a minimum, the distortion was manageable for a 24mm (in 35mm terms) equivalent, and the color and clarity was superb.

    Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12mm f/2.0 LensThis was a difficult shot for a lens, but from this image you would not necessarily think it so. Just out of frame in the upper, right-hand corner was the sun. There were no clouds covering the sun, so it was directly approaching the front of the lens, although there were some trees to shield some of its power. I was surprised that the image held up as well as it did without any flaring or overall decrease in contrast.

    Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12mm f/2.0 LensThe level of detail retained by this lens is very impressive. You can see how sharp the above image really is from this crop.

    Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12mm f/2.0 Lens

    Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12mm f/2.0 LensWe liked really liked and appreciated the overall brilliance, clarity, and color produced by this lens. The colors are pleasing, but still realistic to how we remember the scene.

    Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12mm f/2.0 LensOlympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12mm f/2.0 LensOlympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12mm f/2.0 LensWith this image I took some artistic liberty. When I saw this booth, I thought it would be cool if you could see the back and the front at the same time. So, I decided to do just that, and cropped two images and spliced them into one.

    Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12mm f/2.0 LensOlympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12mm f/2.0 LensThe image of Charlie was taken indoors and so the ISO was higher than some of the other images I took. Although the higher ISO detracts from the overall detail of the image, you can still see that with this lens there is still plenty of detail even when cropped in close.

    Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12mm f/2.0 LensOlympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12mm f/2.0 LensIn this image taken outdoors with a lower ISO, there is a great amount of detail. You can pick up spots of dirt on the towrope attachment. Also, notice the color of the overall image. You can feel the warmth of the evening light, and the blues are great.

    Inside the studio, we ran some shots using the 12mm f/2.0 on our lens test chart. We were very impressed with the results. The lens was across the board sharp, from the largest f/2.0 aperture down to the smallest available aperture of f/22.

    Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12mm f/2.0 Lens

    Lowest Right-Hand Corner f/22

    Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12mm f/2.0 Lens

    Lowest Right-Hand Corner f/8

    Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12mm f/2.0 Lens

    Lowest Right-Hand Corner f/2

    We displayed the images above in reverse order on purpose. Normally you would expect the corner sharpness of a lens to improve as the aperture diaphragm is stopped down. In this case it almost seems like the opposite is true. For an aperture of f/22 it is expected that the sharpness will not be as good as, say, f/8 due to diffraction, so that is a little unfair on our part. But, it is pretty impressive how sharp the 12mm f/2 is at a wide open aperture of f/2. In addition, you can see that the chromatic aberration is pretty well controlled at the corners.

    Distortion for wider angle lenses is typically expected and the 12mm f/2.0 is no exception. The image below shows the barrel distortion caused by this lens.

    Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12mm f/2.0 LensNotice how the center of the image is closer to the bottom of the frame than either of the edges are.

    If you haven't already concluded, we really like the Olympus 12mm f/2.0 lens designed for the micro four thirds camera system. From its looks, to its usability, to the image quality, this small lens has everything going for it. It does have a price tag that will put it out of reach for some people, and for those who can't afford it, we suggest saving your pennies (as my mother used to say). If you are interested in purchasing this lens, we offer it in our store or on our website here. If you are looking for a fast aperture, wide-angle fixed focal length lens for the mFT system, we just don't see how you can go wrong.

  • Demystifying SD Memory Cards...Some More

    A while ago we posted information we had received from SanDisk about memory cards, called Memory Card Myths Demystified. We continue to get many questions regarding memory cards, especially Secure Digital (SD) cards. The greatest confusing factors are the designations we all see on the retail packaging and printed on the individual memory cards themselves.

    Secure Digital (SD) Memory Cards

    What is the difference between SD, SDHC, and, now, what the heck is SDXC? A standard SD card has a memory capacity up to 2GB (2,048 MB). SDHC memory cards begin with a memory capacity above 2GB and end at 32GB. SDXC is a more recent designation that simply indicates cards with a capacity over 32GB and up to 2TB (2,048GB, 2,097,152MB). These designations simply indicate the potential memory capacity of the card. That's it.

    But it gets more confusing because why even worry about these designations in the first place? Why care if SDHC cards could potentially be 4GB, 8GB, 16GB or even 32GB? The short answer is compatibility. SDHC cards are not compatible with older cameras that were manufactured when standard SD cards were the norm. If you were to try to use a SDHC card in a non-compatible camera, the camera would not work. You would be provided with an error of something like "card read error", and the camera would be locked up. So, it is important to know if your camera can handle, say, a 4GB memory card. And, the same is true with SDXC memory cards. If you have a camera that is not compatible with this capacity card, it will not work. So, before you go out to purchase the latest 64GB card for your digital camera or camcorder, you should first reference the manual to see if the device is compatible. Now, newer cameras are backwards compatible. That means you can use a 2GB memory card with a camera that is SDHC, or even SDXC compatible.

    The frustration a lot of consumers are currently experiencing involves availability of some smaller capacity SD cards. Not too long ago, it used to be difficult to find 1GB memory cards, and now you almost see them nowhere. That is not so much a problem considering you can just purchase a 2GB memory card, and the only downside (or upside depending on who you are and how you look at it) is that you will have more capacity for storing your images and/or video. Now, like the 1GB cards, it is starting to be difficult to find 2GB memory cards. But why, you may ask? It is starting to cost more to manufacture 2GB memory cards than it is to make 4GB memory cards. With higher megapixel cameras and HD video becoming the norm, consumers are purchasing larger cards. There is no longer a large enough market to support the lower prices of the 2GB cards, so we slowly see them being phased out. The big problem that is occurring that did not happen when 1GB memory cards were being phased out is that a 4GB SD card is an SDHC card, and is therefore not backwards compatible with older cameras. If you have an older camera and you need a memory card, you are starting to run into trouble. We still carry 2GB memory cards, and hope to carry them for a while. They are starting to cost us more than 4GB memory cards, but we have yet to raise the price.

    The other designation we see customers having a difficult time with are speed classes. Like the capacity designations mentioned above where SDHC indicates a capacity range, speed classes just indicate the speed (read and/or write) of the memory card. Speed classes for still photography, and shooting still photographs, is not as critical a point as it is for video. Most cards will indicate the max burst speed of the memory card in either MB/s (megabytes per second) or an "x" factor. Although these cards can achieve these speeds in bursts, like in saving a smaller still picture from a camera to the memory card, these indications do not tell the whole story, especially when thinking about video and larger transfers.

    In order to understand the sustained speed of a card, you need to look at how the "class" is designated. The speed classes are very easy because they are self-explanatory. A card labeled "Class 2" has a sustained write speed of at least 2MB/s, a "Class 4" card is at least 4MB/S, "Class 6" 6MB/s, and so on. This is important for video because, although it is OK in most situations for a card's speed to fluctuate while still images are being written, it is not OK for a card's speed to dip below a minimum while recording video. If you are shooting video and a memory card dips below the necessary sustained write speed for that device, the camera will "drop" frames and the video will suddenly appear choppy. On the other hand, with still photography, the still image has already been written and is simply being sent to the card from the camera's buffer. If it takes a little more time, so be it, the image is not jeopardized.

    Note how we italicized "at least" above. A memory card that is Class 2, may be much faster in bursts, or could be even faster in terms of sustained speeds, but at a minimum it is 2MB/s. How do you know how fast the card must be for your device? Simply check the manufacturer's specifications in the manual or elsewhere. The manufacturer will designate the minimum class that will be required for smooth video and operation. Also, keep in mind that high speed cards can be very useful for every day use beyond shooting video. If you are like most people, you probably wait to transfer your images until after you fill up an entire card. If you have a 16GB card, transferring all of that data can take a long time. To save yourself time and frustration, you may want to consider a faster speed card to save yourself having to wait around while your images transfer from your card to your backup device, like your computer.

    Now that you feel more confident with speed classes, some of the latest cards use UHS (Ultra High Speed) bus interface technology. As high-definition video digital SLRs and larger resolution digital video devices start to become the norm, this technology with faster transfer speeds will be more widely used and expected. UHS cards are currently either designated with UHS-I and UHS-II, and the transfer rates go up to 312 MB/s. Before you rush out to get these ultra-fast cards, keep in mind that only a couple of cameras are currently compatible, like the Nikon D7000, and your card reader may not be able to take full advantage of the speed. But, these cards are backwards compatible and can offer faster transfer rates than other cards, even with non-UHS compatible devices. If you are interested in a UHS SD memory card, our most popular selling card is currently this one made by SanDisk. In addition, a great resource for information on SD memory cards is the SD Association website.

    What prompted this post in the first place was actually a thread in a forum regarding the Hoodman RAW Steel SD memory cards. All of the Hoodman promotional images of these cards show them without a write-protect tab. Someone in a forum wanted to know if they do have one, and we got in on the conversation to confirm that they do. Shortly thereafter someone wanted to know the speed of these cards. Hoodman has not been good about publishing significant speed information like some other manufacturers do, but they do indicate them as Class 10 cards. We were therefore curious how the Hoodmans stacked up against some other cards in terms of speed, and decided to put them through a simple test.

    We gathered a handful of memory cards lying around our retail store. We have dozens of display cameras, and always have some extra SD cards lying around, so we took those for testing. We also grabbed a Hoodman RAW Steel SD memory card to see how it fared. We could have simply tested the Hoodman by itself, but we were curious to see how cards compare to how they are advertised. See below for the data. Please know that we only tested sustained speeds. We were surprised to see that the two memory cards we tested that indicated being Class 4, were actually much faster. The other cards were pretty much as advertised. The old 128MB Fujifilm card we had was less than a tenth as fast as the fastest card we tried, which turned out to be a Class 4 SanDisk. Although this was only 128MB in capacity, it seemed to take forever to test.

    Also, we want to mention that if you haven't already, you may want to check out this post we made on the Hoodman RAW Steel SD memory cards earlier on this blog.

    Delkin Devices 2GB SD Memory CardDelkin Devices "Standard" 17MB/s 115x 2GB SD Memory Card

    Sustained Write Speed: 5.25 MB/s
    Sustained Write Speed: 15.7 MB/s 

    Delkin Devices 4GB SD Memory Card

    Delkin Devices "Pro" Class 6 22MB/s 150x 4GB SD Memory Card

    Sustained Write Speed: 7.70 MB/s
    Sustained Write Speed: 18.6 MB/s 

    Delkin Devices 4GB SD Memory Card

    Delkin Devices Class 4 4GB SD Memory Card

    Sustained Write Speed: 8.92 MB/s
    Sustained Write Speed: 16.1 MB/s

    Fujifilm 128MB SD Memory Card

    Fujifilm 128MB SD Memory Card

    Sustained Write Speed: 1.47 MB/s
    Sustained Write Speed: 6.83 MB/s

     

    Hoodman RAW Steel SD Memory Card

    Hoodman RAW Steel 4GB SD Memory Card

    Sustained Write Speed: 10.3 MB/s
    Sustained Write Speed: 18.5 MB/s

     

    Sandisk Ultra SD Memory Card

    SanDisk Ultra Class 4 15MB/s 2GB SD Memory Card

    Sustained Write Speed: 10.6 MB/s
    Sustained Write Speed: 18.7 MB/s

  • 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.

  • New--LOWER--Pricing on Carl Zeiss UV and Polarizing Filters; AND Introduction of Additional Sizes

    Carl Zeiss 72mm T* UV Filter

    We are excited to announce the price is dropping on Carl Zeiss UV and Polarizing filters. In addition, Carl Zeiss is introducing additional sizes to the existing lineup of filters. Right now Zeiss offers UV and Polarizing filters featuring the infamous Zeiss T* coating in 58mm, 67mm, 72mm, and 82mm sizes. These sizes correspond with the filter sizes used by Carl Zeiss lenses. There are many people who would love to use these high-quality filters on other lenses, however, so Zeiss has introduced 4 additional filter sizes to complete the entire range of standard filters from 52mm to 82mm.

    Here is the now current, lower pricing for the existing Zeiss filters (please feel free to click through for purchasing):

    Carl Zeiss 58mm T* Ultraviolet (UV) Filter - $67 (was $78)
    Carl Zeiss 67mm T* Ultraviolet (UV) Filter - $84 (was $101)
    Carl Zeiss 72mm T* Ultraviolet (UV) Filter - $101 (was $112)
    Carl Zeiss 82mm T* Ultraviolet (UV) Filter - $124 (was $124)

    Carl Zeiss 58mm T* Circular Polarizing (POL) Filter - $101 (was $124)
    Carl Zeiss 67mm T* Circular Polarizing (POL) Filter - $135 (was $158)
    Carl Zeiss 72mm T* Circular Polarizing (POL) Filter - $152 (was $180)
    Carl Zeiss 82mm T* Circular Polarizing (POL) Filter - $192 (was $226)

  • The "Akeley" 35mm Motion Picture Camera: No. 158

    Carl Akeley (1864-1926) was a taxidermist, sculptor, explorer and inventor. This man of many talents is known for several firsts. He revolutionized the art of taxidermy by utilizing clay molds instead of stuffing with hay. Akeley also invented the cement spray gun as well as a powerful searchlight that was used by the United States Army during the first World War.

    Akeley 35mm Motion Picture Camera

    Carl Akeley had a deep passion for the natural world and the animals that inhabit it.  He traveled to Africa on several occasions to collect specimens for the American Museum of Natural History. In 1909, Akeley joined President Theodore Roosevelt on a trip to Africa, which was documented in the Cherry Kearton feature “With Roosevelt in Africa” (1910).

    Akeley 35mm Motion Picture Camera Akeley 35mm Motion Picture Camera

    We learned of Carl Akeley through a recent purchase. Carl’s contribution to the Motion Picture industry was the “Akeley” 35mm Motion Picture camera. This hand-crank camera looks nothing like the other cameras of its day. The “Akeley” was developed as a field camera and became the standard for many naturalists in the 1920’s through the 1940’s. The camera was most notably used for Robert Flaherty's “Nanook of the North' (1922). The cameras bizarre design gave it unique capabilities. The body featured a built-in tripod head allowing for smooth pan-tilt motions (unfortunately our camera does not have this intact). The shutter mechanism was the camera's real “claim-to-fame”. The rotary design of the body gave room for the shutter to travel all the way around its circumference.

    Akeley 35mm Motion Picture Camera

    Why is that so unique? Well, as a result, the shutter angle was 230 degrees. Standard “box style” motion picture cameras had a 180 degree shutter, or less. The design of the standard motion picture camera shutter is illustrated below. A small, half circle disc rotated in front of the film plane, exposing the film plane for half the rotation.

    Standard 180 Degree Shutter Angle Standard 180 Degree Shutter Angle

    So in terms of shutter speeds, the math is pretty simple. A camera shooting 30 frames per second (30 revolutions per second) has an equivalent shutter speed of 1/60th of a second. The result of having 50 degrees more shutter is having longer shutter speeds (in this case 1/20th of a second) and gaining almost 1/3rd more light than standard cameras. This was important to Akeley because the majority of his filming was during the dusk and dawn hours when lighting was not ideal.

    Akeley 35mm Motion Picture Camera

    While Akeley’s design was pure genius, it never gained enough credibility throughout the industry to revolutionize the motion camera market. It was not until the 1970’s that the industry would see a camera with a 220 degree shutter (still not as wide as the Akeley).

    Akeley 35mm Motion Picture Camera Interior of Akeley 35mm Motion Picture Camera with Film Cassette
    Akeley 35mm Motion Picture Camera Shutter and film advance mechanism of the Akeley 35mm Motion Picture Camera

    This sort of technology makes me truly appreciate the advancements we have in digital cameras today. Take a DSLR for instance. Many DSLR’s have the capability of recording high definition video at the push of a button, like the highly popular Canon 5D Mark II, 7D, or the Nikon D7000. How do you adjust the “shutter angle” or shutter speed on one of them? Simply turn a dial… bingo… done. How did you change it on an Akeley? Well first, you need to completely disassemble the camera. Remove the rotating shutter disc. Custom cut a new disc. Reinstall and calibrate, then pray that you got the right angle you need.

    Akeley 35mm Motion Picture Camera

    The “Akeley” is a remarkable piece of motion picture engineering, and about as rare as they come. World famous photographer Paul Strand once said of the camera, "It's really a piece of craftsmanship different from anything our friend George Eastman makes." Paul Strand purchased an Akeley in the early 1920's and photographed its inner workings.

    "Akeley Motion Picture Camera" by Paul Strand, 1922 "Akeley Motion Picture Camera" by Paul Strand, 1922

    The above photograph is currently part of The Metropolitan Museum of Art's collection and was donated to them in 1987 by The Ford Motor Company and John C. Waddell. The MET description of this photograph includes the following text:

    Strand had purchased the movie camera only days before he photographed it. His delight in the finely tooled instrument with which he planned to earn his living is evident in the series of photographs he made. This one shows the film-movement mechanism inside the clamshell case. That the camera is depicted upside-down is not irrelevant; the picture works only this way.

    It is believed that only 450 of these cameras were ever made, and somehow No. 158 has found its way to Green Mountain Camera. This camera has now been sold, but if you are interested in any of our used camera inventory, please check out our used camera store website here: www.theusedcamerastore.com.

    To see the Akeley in action and actual footage captured by the camera, please visit the Wild Film History website.

    All of the above color photographs of the Akeley motion picture camera are of the one we have in our collection. Here are some additional photographs of the same camera:

    Akeley 35mm Motion Picture CameraAkeley 35mm Motion Picture CameraAkeley 35mm Motion Picture CameraAkeley 35mm Motion Picture CameraAkeley 35mm Motion Picture CameraAkeley 35mm Motion Picture Camera

Items 91 to 100 of 140 total