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  • Update: Availability of Sony A77, A65, NEX-5N, NEX-7 and New Lenses

    As noted in our previous post comparing the features of the Sony A77 and Sony A65, we have received a lot of interest in the new Sony cameras and lenses that were recently announced: Sony A77, A65, NEX-5N, NEX-7, SAL1650, SEL24F18Z, SEL50F18, and the SEL55210. A lot of the interest has been a curiosity in when these new products will be made available. We were able to get a release schedule from Sony, and we are providing this information here. Each item links to our website where you will be able to purchase the items when we receive them in stock. If you would like to pre-order an item to be one of the first to receive the product, please contact us at sales@gmcamera.com, or (802) 244-0883. All pre-orders are first come, first serve. We currently have all of these products on order with Sony, and will therefore be part of the first shipments as the products are released.

    Release Schedule for Sony A77, A65, NEX-5N, NEX-7, and New Lenses

    Sony NEX-5N Body Only (Black) First Week of September
    Sony NEX-5N 18-55mm Lens Kit (Black) First Week of September
    Sony NEX-5N 18-55mm Lens Kit (Silver) First Week of September
    Sony Alpha SLT-A65 Body Only Mid-to-Late October
    Sony Alpha SLT-A65 18-55mm Lens Kit Mid-to-Late October
    Sony Alpha SLT-A77 Body Only Mid-to-Late October
    Sony Alpha SLT-A77 16-50mm f/2.8 Lens Kit Mid-to-Late October
    Sony NEX-7 Body Only Early November
    Sony NEX-7 18-55mm Lens Kit Early November
    Sony DT 16-50mm f/2.8 SSM Lens (SAL1650) Early November
    Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* E 24mm f/1.8 Lens (SEL24F18Z) Early December
    Sony E 50mm f/1.8 OSS Lens (SEL50F18) Mid December
    Sony E 55-210mm f/4.5-6.3 OSS Lens (SEL55210) Mid-to-Late October
  • Sony Alpha A65 and A77 Feature Comparison

    We recently reported on Sony's introduction of the Alpha SLT-A65 and Alpha SLT-A77. That post has received a lot of interest and we have already started to receive a lot of questions. A question that we are hearing again and again is "What are the main differences between the A65 and the A77?"  We decided there has been enough interest and enough people asking this question that we should just post the main differences here.

    Sony Alpha A65 and A77 Feature ComparisonOne big factor that differentiates the two cameras is the pre-packaged kit lens. The A65 is available as body only or with the Sony 18-55mm lens as a kit. The A77 is also offered as body only, but is also offered with the new 16-50mm f/2.8 lens as a kit. That difference alone may be appealing for some customers to decide one way or the other, and there is a big difference in price to support that decision. The A65 body is $900, and the kit is $1000. The A77 body is $1400 and the kit is $2000. Customers who already have a strong investment in Sony and Minolta glass may not care too much, and will opt for the body only approach. If you are interested in the A77 and acquiring the new 16-50mm f/2.8, the kit is $100 less than buying the lens and body separately (the lens as a standalone purchase is $700).

    Certainly there are more differences than just that:

    A65 A77
    Strong Polycarbonate Body Magnesium Alloy Body with Moisture & Dust Resistance
    Up to 10 FPS with AF In Speed Priority AE Up to 12 FPS with AF In Speed Priority AE
    2-Way Tilt TruBlack LCD 3-Way Tilt TruBlack LCD
    15-point AF; 3-cross type 19-point AF;11-cross Type
    Single Front Dial & Function Button Front & Rear Dials, top LCD Panel, Multi-direction Control Stick & Function Button
    1/4000th Sec. Top Shutter Speed
    1/160th Sec. Flash Sync Speed
    1/8000th Sec. Top Shutter Speed
    1/250th Sec. Flash Sync Speed
    + / - 3.0 EV + / - 5.0 EV
    Optional Vertical Grip
    DMF Direct Manual Focus Function
    Programmable 3 Memory Recall Function
    PC Flash Sync Post
  • 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

  • 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!

  • 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

  • Sekonic to host a Live Online Video Seminar August 11th, 2011

    Sekonic Live Online Video SeminarSekonic just notified us of an upcoming live video seminar to be hosted 8/11/2011 at 1:00pm (EDT) on the Sekonic website. We think this is a great (FREE!) opportunity to pick up some new information, tips, and/or tricks. Sekonic provides the following description for this seminar:

    Log on August 11 at 1:00pm (EDT) for a free one-hour live seminar, hosted by noted photographer and educator Joe Brady. You'll have a front-row seat from the comfort of your home or office as you participate in our interactive streaming-video seminar broadcast in real time here on this page. In this session, we will explore common lighting situations that can occur when shooting outside, along with easy-to-follow solutions that give you the quality you want for your environmental portraits.

    Sekonic continues with the following information about what will be specifically covered:

    Creating portraits on location can be a great way to have both flattering light and beautiful surroundings to complement your subject. The place you and your client choose can help tell a story that says something about what is important to them.

    All of this sounds wonderful, but there’s a problem here as well. Many times, the light and cast shadows are not particularly flattering on your subject. Sometimes the problems are obvious and sometimes they are subtle, but to create a quality portrait, these are issues that have to be dealt with.

    In this session, we’ll explore a few common lighting situations that can occur when shooting outside, and we'll offer you some easy-to-follow solutions that can help you solve these challenges. We’ll explore ways to overcome problem lighting with tools that are simple and effective, and we’ll use a handheld light meter to provide us with all the information we need to control and shape the light in beautiful environmental portraits.

    In case you missed part 1 of the series (Control the Light and Improve Your Photography:
    Part I – Portraiture using Available Light), we have posted it here for your convenience:

  • Nikon Support Article: "Why is 'in-lens' VR superior to 'in-camera' VR?"

    Diagram of lens shift correction VR systems

    Lens Shift Correction (from Nikon article mentioned in this post)

    Let's face it, the draw for many photographers to camera systems made by manufacturer's like Sony and Pentax is the in-camera anti-shake technology. Take any lens, including older lenses being used with adapters, and you have VR. Nikon obviously recognizes this draw because they recently found it necessary to point out the benefits of an in-lens vibration reduction system over an in-camera system. See the support article here:

    Why is 'in-lens' VR superior to 'in-camera' VR?

    Nikon highlights four points in this article, which we will include here for quick reading:

    1. Corrected finder image makes photo composition easy.
    2. Each lens is optimally tuned to achieve reliable correction.
    3. Image information captured by the AF and metering sensors is corrected with in-lens VR.
    4. Patterns of image blur are not the same with all lenses.

    We think point number 2 is probably the most important for arguing the in-lens anti-shake system over an in-camera system. It has now been widely accepted that in-lens anti-shake systems are more effective at reducing blur than in-camera systems, for the exact reason that point number 2 mentions.

    One thing that Nikon does not mention, and it is no surprise that they don't, is what benefit is the in-lens system if the lens does not have VR? Does Nikon manufacture a 50mm f/1.4 with vibration reduction? The answer is no. But mount a 50mm f/1.4 to a camera with an in-camera shake reduction system and you will see at least some benefit.

  • This Week's Instant Savings on Nikon Digital Cameras and Lenses!

    Nikon Coolpix L24
    Nikon Coolpix S6100
    Nikon Coolpix S80
    Nikon Coolpix S9100
    Nikon D5100 18-55mm VR Lens Kit
  • Playing with Lens Mount Adapters

    Did you ever play with your food as a child? Ever stick broccoli in mashed potatoes to make them stand like trees? Then created a road of ketchup through the forest of broccoli to lead to a cabin built of toast?

    Playing with food

    Photo: Saxton Freymann, taken from the New York Times website

    Maybe playing with food is not a universal desire for children, but there is something undeniably appealing about mixing and matching that even adults cannot forsake. If you are a photographer, the desire to mix, match, or adapt has reached a golden era. I can think of no other time in photography when one could experiment with so many different lens and camera combinations with efficacious results. A lot of this success can be attributed to the mirrorless interchangeable lens digital camera.

    Leica Lens Adapted to Panasonic Lumix GH1

    Leica Dual-Range Summicron-M 50mm f/2 Lens adapted to a Panasonic Lumix GH1

    Doing away with the mirror box of a traditional SLR has opened up a whole new world for adaptation. And, this can only be done with digital, since digital cameras do not need a viewfinder for composition. The electronic LCD works just fine. Virtually any lens can now be adapted to these cameras because of the short distance from the sensor to the lens mount. Lens mount adapter manufacturers have a lot of play for getting lenses adapted to these cameras without jeopardizing the infinity focus of the lens being mounted.

    We sell a lot of different mount adapters. Most of the ones we sell are inexpensive, generic adapters we import ourselves. The results are generally good, but can be mixed. The overall build quality of the adapters are above average, but the machining is not always consistent. For example, when using adapters with an M42 screw-mount, once the lens is screwed on, it may not always line up as you would want. What is often considered the top of the lens--the focus and aperture markings facing up--may face down. The great benefit of these adapters is the value. None of theses adapters cost more than $50. If you are interested in any of these adapters, please give us a call.

    When it comes to high-quality lens mount adapters, the universal name is Novoflex. The machining of these adapters is right on, and the quality control is consistent. We have yet to experience a Novoflex adapter that does not smoothly and securely latch in to place when being mounted on a camera body, and the same goes when mounting a lens to the front of the adapter. In addition, the tolerances are spot on. Once the lens and adapter are mounted to a camera, there is virtually no play--the mount is solid. The downside of the Novoflex adapters is price. These adapters range from $150 to close to $300, which makes them as expensive as some lenses. If you are making an investment for a lifetime of use, however, the Novoflex adapters are a perfect choice. Many of the Novoflex adapters we sell can be found for sale at our website here.

    We recently took the GH1 pictured above for a photography stroll. The dual-range summicron is an excellent lens in terms of sharpness. The only issue with using a 50mm lens on a micro 4/3rds camera, however, is the 2x focal length multiplier. The 50mm focal length of the Leica on a GH1 has the field-of-view of a 100mm lens on a full-frame camera (you can learn more about this and depth-of-field on a another post we made here). The images featured below have no post processing, besides the cropped images, which were...cropped. In terms of sharpening and other enhancements, there was nothing done in post-processing to these images. I will say that the camera was set to JPG, so the image processor will have added some in-camera sharpening there. As you will see, however, the little 50mm dual-range Leica is a great performer. CameraQuest speaks highly of this lens, and more information can be found at their website here. In fact, you can find this statement from their website: "A 50 DR had the honor of having the highest resolution ever tested by the now sorely missed American photography magazine, Modern Photography, at over 100 lines per mm".

    Picture of flowers taken with a Panasonic GH1 and an adapted Leica 50mm f/2 lens

    Picture of flowers taken with a Panasonic GH1 and an adapted Leica 50mm f/2 lens

    Flower picture cropped to show detail

    Flower picture cropped to show detail

    Picture of walk sign taken with the Panasonic GH1 and an adapted Leica 50mm f/2 lens

    Picture of walk sign taken with the Panasonic GH1 and an adapted Leica 50mm f/2 lens

    Picture of plant taken with the Panasonic GH1 and an adapted Leica 50mm f/2 lens

    Picture of plant taken with the Panasonic GH1 and an adapted Leica 50mm f/2 lens

    Plant picture cropped to show detail

    Plant picture cropped to show detail

     

    Picture of Yoda taken with the Panasonic GH1 and an adapted Leica 50mm f/2 lens

    Picture of Yoda taken with the Panasonic GH1 and an adapted Leica 50mm f/2 lens

    Perhaps the most interesting part of using lens mount adapters is the sheer fun of mixing and matching old lenses with different camera bodies and observing the results. There is so much excitement in taken lenses from the 30's to 60's, or whatever time period, and using them on modern cameras. The results are usually surprisingly good, and often create a look that is not achievable with modern lenses. So go ahead, play with your food.

  • Spectacular July 4th Savings on Select Canon Cameras!

    Spectacular July 4th Savings on Select Canon Cameras

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