Camera thoughts

I’ve been thinking for a bit about cameras and lenses again. I haven’t been shooting much in the last year, but a lot has been going on that has occupied my time.

A couple months ago, I reached the point where Leica gear is just too expensive, and a digital M is just not something I’m going to buy. Yes, I’m happy with my lenses, but several of my favorites don’t work well on the digital Ms, with the exception of the Monochrom. And as much as I love the Monochrom, it’s too expensive for old tech.

So the Sony Alpha system is looking pretty dang nice. Decent 28mm lens? Yes. Relatively compact bodies? Yes. Some nice Zeiss options? Yes. If only they had a manual focus 28mm I’d probably be sold. As it stands, I’m sure I could reach a 3 lens system that I rather liked between the Sony 28mm, a Loxia 50mm, and a Batis 85mm.

But all that adds up doesn’t it? And then Leica has to announce both a new M Monochrom (answers that old tech issue of the old Monochrom) and what is pretty much my dream lens, a 28mm Summilux. It even has good distortion figures.

Who knows what I’ll do. Well I do. I’ll most likely wait a good deal of time before I make a decision. But that 28mm is looking pretty awesome…


I’ll be honest, I got fed up with some of the coding I’ve done on this site. A lot of the content here on 125px exists as mostly unorganized PDF files thrown in a directory. While some of it is organized on the Tech Docs page, there are many more megabytes of files stored haphazardly.

To facilitate finding potentially useful documents, I was using swish-e to index the content and made it available through the nice little AJAX form in the top right of the site. I would have loved to outsource this indexing to Google, but they just won’t index all of the files consistently.

Something with swish-e finally broke and it now makes corrupt databases. Way back in the day I had tried out Xapian for indexing, but found it to be a bit more fiddly in terms of making it look nice. I wasted a few hours today and finally threw in the towel.

From here on out, the search box in the top right goes to Google. A decent amount of the content is indexed; most of the html pages at least. If you want to search the pdf content, go to the Archives or the Tech Docs pages. There you will find another search form which takes you to the ugly but functional default Xapian/Omega search results.

Framing tools & miscellany

It’s been a long time since I’ve updated the site. Not much to say. The Ricoh GR is still a great camera. I finally sprung for Photoshop CC and I have to admit it’s a nice upgrade from CS 4. I’ve been scanning a lot of slides from my childhood which is grueling work. I also haven’t had a lot of time for proper photography, though I have shot a handful of rolls over the past couple months. I just need to find some time to develop and scan them.

Oh yes, framing. We finally got around to framing all of the art we have laying around. I like to go the Nielsen metal frame route, ordered from Frame Destination. All I have to say is that after framing quite a lot of pictures, some in pretty large frames, you should invest in two tools.

  1. Anti static brush. This is probably more useful if you are using acrylic glazing. Holy crap was it frustrating. Every time I felt the glazing was dust free before sealing it up, I’d notice yet another spot or fiber. And once that acrylic gets charged up, it’s a dust magnet.

  2. Fletcher SpringMate. It’s a tool that helps you remove those little metal spring clips that get installed in the back of the frame. I didn’t find it as useful in installing them, though it does work for that. However, for removal, it was a real time saver. Frame Destination ships their frames assembled, so you have to take the clips out before you put your pictures in.

Leica Summilux-M 50mm ASPH

Here’s another short and sweet review. The Leica 50mm Summilux-M ASPH. Not much needs to be said about this lens. Often touted as one of the best 50mm lenses ever, I’d have to say it’s my favorite 50mm lens out of the ones that I’ve used.

Last Kodachrome

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Leica Summicron-M 28mm ASPH

To keep it simple: this is my favorite lens ever. A lot has been said about the relatively common Leica lenses like this and the 50mm Summilux ASPH; I’m not going to repeat too much of what has already been said. I’m also not going to get overly technical.

the voiceover

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Leica Monochrom Review

This review is written more as a collection of my thoughts after using the camera for about 4 days. It’s also written from the perspective of someone who is primarily a 35mm B&W film shooter. I do have experience with digital; in fact I started photography with a DSLR, but I often think in terms of B&W film.

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Yojimbo and the CLI

I use Yojimbo for storing various things I find interesting on the internet. I also use the command line interface a lot. So, I wrote up a little shell script to take a proper URL (starting with ‘http://’) and add it to Yojimbo as either a bookmark or a web archive.

I’ve been using it in conjunction with newsbeuter, but it’s general purpose, so it could be used anywhere from the command line.

The script can be found on Gist.

Ricoh GR thoughts

Sometime last year, I thought about finally purchasing a nice digital camera, the Fuji XPro-1. Needless to say, I never got around to doing it. A little later, the Leica Monochrom came out and I mused about it and other cameras. I still want one of those, or the newer Leica M. Lots of my thoughts are along the same lines.

However, there’s a new contender on the market, and I have to admit, I actually bit this time. The Ricoh GR. I’ve had a Ricoh GR1v for several years and like it a fair amount. I even wrote up a review for it that I never posted. Maybe someday I will. It’s a great camera, though a bit noisy. It’s small and great quality. I do wish it was faster than f/2.8 sometimes, but on digital you get a bit more leeway nowadays with the higher ISOs available to you.

I actually pre-ordered the GR. I’ve played around with other GR digitals and liked them. The only thing I didn’t like about them at the time was the sensor size and the various implications that has. I also really like the GR1v. So I’m betting that Pentax/Ricoh didn’t futz with the formula too much. The size is right. The samples look good. It should be fast and have a great interface. And it’s not even too expensive.

And if I ever really feel like putting my money where my mouth is, I’ll have a compact color option to pair with the Leica Monochrom.

Kodak TMZ discontinued

It looks like Kodak T-Max P3200 TMZ is discontinued, as of October 1st. It was one of my favorite films, if not my favorite. This makes me sad. I guess I’ll order another brick and then eventually move over to Ilford Delta 3200.

Due to low sales volume, Kodak is ending production of KODAK PROFESSIONAL T-MAX P3200 Film (TMZ). The demand for ultra-high speed B&W film has declined significantly, and it is no longer practical to coat such a small volume of product.

The suggested replacement is KODAK PROFESSIONAL T-MAX 400 Film (TMY-2). The latitude of TMY-2 allows it to handle one stop of underexposure (EI 800) without being pushed. In low light situations, TMY-2 delivers very good results when exposed at EI 1600 with increased development time.

Even though P3200 is approx 2 stops faster than TMY-2 at comparable contrast levels, that extra speed comes with a very significant grain penalty. In fact, for most applications TMY-2 is actually the better film choice. The exception would be extremely low light situations where P3200 might be able to pull out some shadow detail that would otherwise be lost with TMY-2