Gordon Lewis

Following up on my iPhone posts from last week, today I'll post some pictures from my recent trip, so you can share a few of the things I saw and meet a few of the people. Gordon-1-small First, the street photographer (and author of Street Photography) in action—here's my favorite shot of Gordon from our day together in New York. (It's also a good illustration of why I'm liking the Fuji 14mm lens—one of the big surprises in my recent photographic life. I'm suddenly "seeing wide," and I have no idea why. My 14mm [21mm equivalent] is currently my most-used lens.) Gordon's an affable and good-humored guy, and those are the qualities that come across front and center, but behind his natural amiability is a thoughtful and incisive mind. He's an astute observer of life and the human condition and has a wry take on the photographic scene.
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Unfamiliar Friends

Not only did I meet Gordon Lewis for the first time face-to-face (after 25 years as colleagues and friends-who've-never-met, a description I'm glad no longer applies), I did get to meet several TOP readers--Wayne P., who will shortly be closing down a studio that used to gross a million a year in the '90s; Leilani S., who recently had a show at the Leica Gallery; and Joe H., a fine NYC-based photographer whose work I've been aware of for years. although that went well as far as it went, it's a very haphazard way to meet readers. Maybe we can do a more deliberate NYC meetup at some point in the not-too-distant future.

I also had my portrait taken a number of times! First with a Fuji Instax camera at the Fuji booth (where I went full geek drooling over the lovely lens line), then with a

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PhotoPlus

I handled the Leica SL at the PhotoPlus show with Gordon and it's very nice--not too big if a bit heavy with one of the heavier M lenses attached. The big dedicated zoom would not be my cuppa but some people won't mind. Nice hand feel, nice viewfinder, seemed very fast and responsive. I liked it actually. Gordon and I will have some pictures soon. I'm sitting in the offices of B&H Photo right now, meeting my liaison from the company. Saw Chuck Westfall of Canon briefly. Successfully arranged for the loan of an Epson P600. The Zeiss 28mm Otus is absolutely enormous in person. The PDN exhibit gets best show at the show--some wonderful pictures! Posting from my iPhone. Gotta go-- Mike

Leica Wants to Be Sony

Leica-sl-1You have no more reason to buy the A7! The Leica SL: bigger, simpler, and art.

It's official...the world's oldest and most prestigious surviving olde-world German camera company is following the cues of a foundering Japanese electronics giant that's a relatively new player in the camera market but is breaking all kinds of ground. First there was the beautiful Leica T...that bore much more than a passing resemblance to the NEX-7 and its many NEX and  NEXish brethren. Then Sony came out with a compact full-frame fixed lens camera it was getting well over three grand for. And lo, Leica looked and saw that it was good, and would be good to be in on. (But it chose a focal length that's much more popular in the Japanese home market.) And now Leica's got its own A7! Wow. Leica wants to be Sony. (If you go
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Blog Note: Feed Problems

Sorry we've had feedreader problems the last couple of days. Some bad code snuck in through the back door. The feed is now validating again so you should be about to get it again soon; you might want to refresh your page or re-launch your browser. (Does that even help? I wish I could ask the IT dude, but he's a slacker and doesn't know anything.) If you would like to subscribe to TOP in a reader, please go here. We publish whole-post feeds, which includes the "Featured" (selected) comments, although you will have to come to the site itself to read all the comments. I leave for NYC and PhotoPlus Expo tomorrow, so I'm unsure how much time I'll have to load content in the next few days. I'll be back on the morning of Tuesday the 27th.

Mike the incompetent and completely untrained TOP IT slacker dude

Blog Note: Feed Problems

Sorry we've had feedreader problems the last couple of days. Some bad code snuck in through the back door. The feed is now validating again so you should be about to get it again soon; you might want to refresh your page or re-launch your browser. (Does that even help? I wish I could ask the IT dude, but he's a slacker and doesn't know anything.) If you would like to subscribe to TOP in a reader, please go here. We publish whole-post feeds, which includes the "Featured" (selected) comments, although you will have to come to the site itself to read all the comments. I leave for NYC and PhotoPlus Expo tomorrow, so I'm unsure how much time I'll have to load content in the next few days. I'll be back on the morning of Tuesday the 27th.

Mike the incompetent and completely untrained TOP IT slacker dude

Right-Sized

I knew there was something "right-sized" about the Fuji X-T1:

Fuji-leicaWith the Leica M4. Graphic courtesy Camerasize.com.

Can anybody provide a picture of the Fuji XF 23mm ƒ/1.4 with either of the 35mm ƒ/1.4's from Canon or Nikon? (Or the Zeiss 35mm ƒ/1.4 for the Sony A7[x] cameras.) I think that's the size comparison that really makes the Fuji right-sized for me. ...All a matter of personal preference of course!

Mike

Original contents copyright 2015 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved. Links in this post may be to our affiliates; sales through affiliate links may benefit this site.

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Featured Comments from: Curt Gerston: "Here's [a graphic from] Camerasize.com again with an XT1 and 23mm ƒ/1.4 compared to the Canon 5DIII with the
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Two book reviews: The Long Shadow of Kodak’s Fall

Reviewed by Geoff Wittig

When I attended college in Rochester, New York, in the late 1970s, working at Kodak was by common consent the second best summer job for students staying in town. (The best? Working at the Genesee Brewery, where free beer was the standout perk.) Kodak paid well, working on the colossal film coating lines was interesting, and it gave you a foot in the door for a ‘real job’ down the road. At the time it was obvious that Kodak would be around forever; it was a force of nature. Ahem. That was then…and things have changed a bit. Rochester as a community has weathered the collapse of Kodak more gracefully than other rust belt cities suffering similar industrial declines, but there have certainly been consequences. The neighborhoods surrounding Kodak Park in northwest Rochester and adjacent Greece NY have slid from solidly blue collar to a
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Open Mike: Out and About

A few people have been wondering about why I haven't shown any pictures since my move. The reason is that I haven't shot much. It's not your (i.e., TOP's) fault. I have a dog (Butters) who suffers from separation anxiety, and I'm "anxious" myself (formally, in terms of my attachment pathology), so it's not that easy to leave the house. Butters ramps up into hysteria and I feel guilty and troubled and resentful. Leaving the house is an ordeal. But I went out shooting for two hours yesterday. I was inspired by TOP reader and friend Earl Dunbar, who stopped by the Fortress of Solitude for breakfast. He was in the area shooting with his Chamonix. Yesterday was the first time I'd done much shooting since I visited S. last Spring. (I showed you those.) Silos-small Low-sun-small Lowns-penn-yan-small Crescent-moon-small These mini JPEGs are the "work prints" so to speak. The
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What’s It Gonna Be?

Friday Night Lite: If you could have any one camera (cost no object), but just one—and you had to use it exclusively for, let's say, the next four years—what would it be? Optional: Why?

[If you comment, see if you can please stick to the question—instead of, say, explaining why you absolutely need a minimum of nine different cameras, or why I'm a troll, or why no cameras are any good, or why any camera will do because it's art that matters, or....]

Extra credit: What's the #1 best rock-and-roll song?

Mike

[UPDATE, 267 comments later...My answer is "Leica S, but you can't always get what you want." (Rimshot!) And for extra credit, Bob Dylan's "Leica Rolling Stone." (Rimshot no. 2!) (And boy, did you guys ever make me go a long way for two bad jokes!

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Sony A7s II is Shipping

Sony-a7sii The full-frame Sony A7s II is now shipping from B&H Photo. Shades of the old and well-beloved Nikon D700, the A7s II has only 12 megapixels, but it's the outlier speed king according to DxOMark. And it has 5-axis IBIS. Which I hope doesn't work very well. To my frontal cortex it seems like it would be insane for me to even consider any different camera, but in my gadgygdala (the primitive, chopped-walnut-sized part of the brain  near the spinal cord that governs gear lust), there's a furious storm of electrical impulses taking place. I can't help it, it's basic instinct.

Mike

Original contents copyright 2015 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved. Links in this post may be to our affiliates; sales through affiliate links may benefit this site.

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Those Remarkable Otii

Zeiss-otus-28mm Zeiss has just announced the third in its Otus series of deliberately state-of-the-art lenses. The 28mm ƒ/1.4 will complete a set comprising normal (the Otus 55mm ƒ/1.4 for Canon or Nikon DSLRs), moderate telephoto (the Otus 85mm ƒ/1.4 for Canon or Nikon) and now the moderate-wide 28mm. Zeiss said to its engineers, "create the absolute best camera lenses possible regardless of size or selling price" (and incidentally, size and selling price are number one and number two on the list of the constraints on camera lens design). The Otus series of lenses are the result. In case you're wondering about Zeiss's strange lens names—Otus, Milvus, Loxia, Batis, Touit—it's simple: they're search terms. Type in "Otus" at the B&H website, for instance, and the Zeiss Otus lenses come right up. (And this is why the new company called "Light" has the absolutely worst company name in the history
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Harry Gruyaert: A New Old Master

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Reviewed by Kenneth Tanaka

I gasped when I first opened Harry Gruyaert's book. And I mean I audibly gasped. As I browsed some of the pages I became slightly overwhelmed and had to set the book aside. It would take me nearly three weeks to work through it once. That sometimes happens to me when I see work that’s so sublime and engaging. I time-out to sip it like a fine wine. Nutty, eh? Harry Gruyaert’s photography may be the finest candid color photography I have ever seen. Haas, Meyerowitz (some), Penn, Eggleston, all wonderful, all seductive and emotive. But Gruyaert’s work just shot to #1 on my personal hit parade. IP6s-20151012-1820-1834In brief here’s why: Harry Gruyaert manages to orchestrate the endless moving variables of candid color photography—form, eye lines, proportions, gesture, tonal relationships, color palette, etc.—with a mastery that I’ve never seen. His frames show more mystery and
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A Perfect Photobook

Screen Shot 2015-10-14 at 9.14.25 AM For a long time I was in the habit of looking through a photobook every evening, so my book collection is alive to me—I know it intimately. I noticed the other day that Amazon is listing a few "new old" copies of one of my favorites, Helen Levitt's Crosstown. Just a great book in every way. It went out of print very quickly. Really worth seeking out. Whenever someone somewhere gives in to hyperbole and calls Vivian Maier "the greatest American street photographer of the 20th century" or words to that effect, I just smile inside and think, really? Greater than Helen Levitt? No offense to the once-obscure, now-famous nanny or her fabulous tale of discovery, but no way. Crosstown is a book that repays revisiting. Reviewing
I'll be posting a couple more nice book reviews today—including one of Harry Gruyaert, by Ken Tanaka—but first, I have a TOP reader
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