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Preview: Ken Rockwell's Updates

Ken Rockwell's Updates

Ken Rockwell's Updates

Published: Sat, 17 Mar 2018 18:58:06 -0500

Last Build Date: Sat, 17 Mar 2018 18:58:06 -0500


18 March 2018, Sunday

Sun, 18 Mar 2018 00:00:00 -0500


Nikon 28mm f/1.4E.

NEW: Nikon 28mm f/1.4 E FX Review.


17 March 2018, Saint Patrick's Day

Sat, 17 Mar 2018 00:00:00 -0500

USA version D850 has a USA warranty card on top of two printed manuals. DON'T GET RIPPED OFF: Nikon D850 Unboxing. This isn't amateur hour on YouTube; this is serious when I realized that I already have my second D850 (I got my first in September) and realize that people who waited to order theirs still can't get them and might be tempted to find them in shady places or even a local dealer, which are bad ideas since you never know what you'll get. My Nikon D850 Unboxing and Nikon D850 USA Version sections lay bare what the shady and local dealers don't want you to know, which is exactly what you're supposed to get when you get the real thing from one of my personally approved online dealers, all of whom ship from secure automated warehouses where other customers and salespeople don't get to touch your camera before you do. Nikon does nothing to seal its boxes, so may the luck of the Irish be with you if you try to find one elsewhere. I love that instead of taking a half hour to reset all my preferences and custom studio white balances and my name, address and phone umbers in my copyright information, all I had to do was download my settings file from my first D850 onto a card, and in two seconds my second D850 is already setup like my first. Bravo, Nikon! Neither Sony not Canon can do this, which is a huge plus for anyone responsible for a fleet of cameras. It takes a lot to make my approved dealer list; I've been buying from Adorama, B&H and Crutchfield since they all opened up in the 1970s; yes, I have over 40 years of being a customer with most of these guys so that's why I can recommend them so strongly. They're in it for us, not for themselves, which is why they keep growing while shady and local dealers wither away.   Nikon 10-20mm VR DX. NEW: Nikon 10-20mm Review. Even works on full-frame! Insane!   Weekend Deals Photo Panasonic LEICA 12-60mm OIS: includes Free $100 Adorama Gift Card. Panasonic LEICA Macro-Elmarit 45mm f/2.8 OIS: includes Free $100 Adorama Gift Card. Panasonic 12-60mm OIS: includes Free $300 Adorama Gift Card. Panasonic Fisheye 8mm f/3.5: includes Free $50 Adorama Gift Card. Panasonic GX8: includes Free $100 Adorama Gift Card. Panasonic FZ2500: includes Free $125 Adorama Gift Card. Panasonic ZS100: includes Free $100 Adorama Gift Card. MeFOTO 55mm Circular Polarizer: Regular Price: $40 | Sale Price: $7.95. MeFOTO 58mm Circular Polarizer: Regular Price: $43 | Sale Price: $8.95.   Bags & Cases miggo Agua Stormproof Backpack 85: Regular Price: $170 | Sale Price: $70. miggo Agua Quick Draw Stormproof Holster 25: Regular Price: $50 | Sale Price: $30. Brenthaven Tred Beta Backpack: Regular Price: $100 | Sale Price: $20. Pelican iM2500 Case w/Wheels: Regular Price: $180 | Sale Price: $140.   Scopes & Binoculars Bushnell Elite 60mm Spotting Scope w/15-45x Eyepiece & Case: Regular Price: $419 | Sale Price: $200. Lunt Solar Systems 60mm f/8.3 HA Refractor Solar Telescope: Regular Price: $1,999 | Sale Price: $1,799. Lunt Solar Systems LS50THA 50mm f/7 Refractor Solar Telescope w/4mm Blocking Filter: Regular Price: $849 | Sale Price: $600. Steiner 10x26 Roof Prism Binocular: Regular Price: $200 | Sale Price: $150.   [...]

15 March 2018, Thursday

Thu, 15 Mar 2018 00:00:00 -0500


San Diego Tonight: Free Portait Photography Master Class!

If you're in San Diego, head on over Thursday night to hear Siobhan Gazur present a master class on portrait photography.



Sony A7 Mark III.

MORE UPDATED AGAIN: Sony A7 III Comparisons.

I spent much of yesterday adding more details about the minor differences among the A9, A7R III and A7 III, and realized some new things, like the fact that the A7 III has the best battery life of any Sony full-frame, ever, and that other than these three new top full-frame Sonys, you can ignore all the older models.

The A9, A7R III and A7 III have a new battery with twice the energy, and everything else uses the old tiny battery that only runs for a couple of hundred shots. All three have great battery life, and far superior technology and ergonomics than any of the other, older full-frame models, the newest of which are now three years old!


14 March 2018, Wednesday

Wed, 14 Mar 2018 00:00:00 -0500

Nikon D7500 and 50mm f/1.4 G. NEW: Nikon D7500 Review. I know it came out almost a year ago, but it's just a refresh of the D7200 and I've been too busy working with all the magical and genuinely new things Sony's been coming out with this past year. What's laughable is how horribly hideous are the results from the D7500 at its highest ISO settings. Nikon put in some really stupid settings like ISO 1,638,400 (H+5) to impress the stupider people, but if you're ever actually seen the dreck that comes out of the D7500 (or D500) at that setting, you'll lose your lunch with laughter as well. On a more serious note, the D7500 looks not that much different from the D850 at the same high ISOs, while the Sony A7 III looks much better at six-digit ISOs than anything from Nikon. I'm astounded at how ISO 204,800 on the A7 III is noisy, but colorful and quite useful where needed, while Nikon puts in settings to help sell cameras to stupider people that look horrible if anyone actually tried them. Nikons start losing colors and shifting colors at their top stupid ISOs, while Sony keeps the same colors and tones at its extreme settings. Just look at the samples at the reviews; it's obvious. My review bares all. The D7500 is a great camera, but no, it can't shoot at ISO one million.   New Hard Drive: LaCie 8TB. I just got a new external drive which I use with my Mac Pro to store all my images and other data. I outgrew the 5TB drive I got around 2014. This new LaCie d2 USB & Thunderbolt 2 drives comes from 3TB to 10TB; the 8TB version I got uses an enterprise-class drive with 5-year warranty. This new drive is awesome because it's quieter. The old drive drove me nuts in my silent studio with my silent Mac Pro when it sounded so sad trying to spin up to access data. This new drive excels because I can't hear it, either. My drive and Mac Pro sit under my desk. It's trivially easy to pop in a new drive. I use Super Duper to make an exact copy of the old drive. Then I eject the new drive and turn off my Mac. I attach the new drive to another Mac and rename it to the same name as my old data drive. I disconnect the old drive from my Mac Pro and save it as an archive. I connect the new drive, turn on my Mac Pro, and voilà, my Mac thinks everything is right where it always was, except that I now have a lot more free space for new work.   Deals Cameras Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II w/14-42mm & 40mm-150mm: Regular Price: $998 | Sale Price: $649. Panasonic DMC-GX8 in Silver or in Black: Regular Price: $1198 | Sale Price: $849. MeFOTO 52mm Circular Polarizer: Regular Price: $38 | Sale Price: $5.   Video SmallHD 501 5" HDMI LCD On-Camera Monitor w/waveform: Regular Price: $899 | Sale Price: $599. Blackmagic UltraStudio 4K Extreme: Regular Price: $2,995 | Sale Price: $2,495. RED Trade-In Program - Save up to 25% with an eligible trade in Red accepts the following 3P cameras for a trade-in credit on new EPIC and SCARLET BRAINs. Note: This program only applies to RED cameras purchased in 2018: ARRI Sony Panasonic Canon Blackmagic Depending on the value of the traded-in 3rd Party camera, you'll be eligible for at least one of the following options: 25% discount on EPIC-W ($7,375 credit) or a 20% discount on SCARLET-W ($2,500 credit).   Bags and Cases Manfrotto Street Messenger: Regular Price: $100 | Sale Price: $30. CamRade TravelMate Outbag Hiker Backpack: Regular Price: $99 | Sale Price: $39. Brenthaven BX Edge Folio bag: Regular Price: $50 | Sale Price: $7. Lowepro Apex 110 All Weather Shoulder Bag: Regular Price: $55 | Sale Price: $20.   [...]

13 March 2018, Tuesday

Tue, 13 Mar 2018 00:00:00 -0500

Sigma for Sony E.



Fearless Photographer book

If you haven't already, check out my friend Dave Wyman's book Fearless Photographer: Nature. It's a great book by an actual photographer who's been shooting every day for almost 70 years — and still has no problem riding his bike 100 miles in a day. Dave has learned a lot with all this shooting and with many decades of leading photo tours, and writes well and shows much more practical information in a format we can use compared to a common photo book.

It's loaded with photos and useful information — it's not the usual throw-away book just loaded with computer screen shots. It applies from beginner to advanced, and applies to digital and film.

More Recommended Books.


11 March 2018, Sunday

Sun, 11 Mar 2018 00:00:00 -0600


Sony A7 III and 85mm f/1.8.

MORE UPDATED: Sony A7 III hands-on review!

NEW: Sony A7 III User's Guide!

I worked on this all day Friday and Saturday, too. I think it's finished for now. I rewrote most of the text at the top and bottom and added more images all over.

The more I work with the A7 III the more I realize that this camera is a landmark that turns the tables. While Nikon and Canon know we're invested in their DSLR systems and try to force us into paying more for upper-models since they pull features and performance off their $2,000-range cameras, the Sony A7 III is the same as Sony's top models from last year, the A9 and A7R III, just for half the price if you don't need crazy resolution above 24MP or more than 10FPS. The A7 III has the better AF system from the A9, not the A7R III's partial-frame AF system, and can shoot from ISO 50 to ISO 204,800 in silent mode, which the A9 can't do.

This is the first time mirrorless has been able to compete - and win - against DSLRs, at the same price.

Good gosh, have you seen what the A7 III does at ISO 204,800? It looks way better than the A7S II and way, way better than the Nikon D5, and the D5 costs three-and-a-half times as much. The A7 III has full-frame AF lacking in the D5, has almost the same frame rate, but the A7 III has better high ISO performance and more resolution than the D5. You can see all this in my reviews; click the links to get to images from the various cameras to compare as I have. The D5 can be set to higher ISOs for marketing purposes, but looks like garbage at its highest ISOs; the A7 III is much better, and does this all in total silence.


09 March 2018, Friday

Fri, 09 Mar 2018 00:00:00 -0600


The Nikon D3 with 50mm f/1.4 AF-D

Updated: Nikon D3.

I updated my index page about the Grand Master of all FX cameras, the world's first Nikon full-frame DSLR. I still use mine, it's a 9 FPS monster of a pro camera.


07 March 2018, Wednesday

Wed, 07 Mar 2018 00:00:00 -0600

A Third Hosting Company

Seeing how awful was the company I tried at the beginning of the week, if you're seeing this then you're seeing this page from yet a third different website hosting company, the latest in my genius plans to get my site to load as fast as it's supposed to for all of you.

How's it look? It may take a few days for the DNS records to update and everything to get on track.


05 March 2018, Monday

Mon, 05 Mar 2018 00:00:00 -0600

New Hosting Company —  Arrg!

It worked great over the weekend, and now on Monday, my busiest traffic day, stalled.

For 18 years I was on a shared plan, and it worked great till they discovered that I was using 600 GB/day (18TB/month) of bandwidth.

Over the weekend I moved to a different company with a VPS and two 2.2GHz cores and 4GB of RAM. Looks like I'm using most of the RAM right now.

Who out there has any idea why I'm so slow? Do I really need more RAM and/or a dedicated server for this static HTML 1990s-technology website with no user inputs, no SSIs, no phps and nothing but serving 200,000 static pages and 600 GB of data per day (more on peak periods when new cameras come out)?

I'm not an IT guy, so I'd love to hear from those of you who are.




03 March 2018, Saturday

Sat, 03 Mar 2018 00:00:00 -0600

New Hosting Company!

If you're seeing this, then you're seeing my site from a new hosting company which hopefully will mean that you'll never see the "Try Again Later" warning again. I'm hoping everything will be even more lightning-fast than before, as well as no more missing images or pages.

My traffic outgrew the old hosting company I've been using since 1999.

It only took 26.5 hours to upload all 18GB of this website from home — from my 2009 MacBook Pro running Mac OS 10.6! I just happened to be running everything from my laptop while I was in Vegas, so it's all good. I don't know who says Apple laptops are expensive; I've been using this one for over 8 years and it runs flawlessly; no need to buy another as I had to do with junk-brand plastic laptops every 2 years. My plastic 12" MacBook G4 from 2004 also runs perfectly, but it's a little slow with its 800 MHz processor, even if it does have an Altivec accelerator.

If you're not seeing this entry and only seeing the entry below from February 27th, then you're still seeing my site from the old hosting company. You also should see the A7 Mk III with an 85mm f/1.8 lens below, instead of the lensless photo that was there before. This may take a few days to update — but if you're seeing this message, you're seeing it from the new server. Whoo hoo!

Many thanks to those of you who made suggestions!